Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace

Yesterday 5 representatives from the Friends group went along to the Garden Party, having been nominated to attend in recognition of improvements made via our fundraising efforts to the park and our commitment / time given to this voluntary community project.

The whole day was a fantastic experience and we are honoured to have attended . Following a rather overcast start to the event, by late afternoon the sun broke out and made the experience even more enjoyable . At 3pm the Palace gates opened and guests were allowed through following the production of invites and appropriate ID/security checks. Once into the palace courtyard we walked through two ground floor reception rooms, out on to a stone terrace which overlooked the palace gardens .

There were approximately 5,000 guests from all over the Country and everyone looked lovely in their smart attire. Guests included diplomats, Military personnel, Fire service personnel, Olympians, Paralympians and other officials from the London 2012 games. The marquees were all set out looking lovely,with tables and chairs on the lawns for guests to enjoy a nice sit down whilst taking refreshments.

Two military bands were taking it in turns to play.

As we walked down the steps towards the lawned area we were approached by a member of the Queens staff and were asked questions around who we were, where we had travelled from, and our achievements to date- he then said he would like to introduce us to Lord Peel the Lord Chamberlain, and that Lord Peel would in turn present us to the Queen. We were very surprised and very excited .

A short time later the Yeoman Guard assisted to get guests divided into rows, to prepare for the Queen and her family members to enter in to the Garden Party and to meet with their guests. At 4 pm the National Anthem was played and the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh came to the middle of the steps on the terrace and everyone stood still to pay their respects, other members of the family were also there, including Prince Charles, Duchess of Cornwall ; Duchess of Cambridge and the Gloucesters. The Queen then came down the steps and made her way through some other guests to ourselves, where the Lord Chamberlain introduced us to Her Majesty.We all shook hands and had a chat with the Queen for around 5 minutes - she was interested in our acheivements and was particularly pleased that there were family facilities at the park where families can be together and children could play safely, supervised by family hopefully without the fear of kidnap .

Following our chat the Queen said our work was highly commendable and that she wished us luck with the rest of our project . We are so proud that we have met the Queen in person and that she took the time to speak to us - it is something that we will never forget ! We then went to the refreshment tent and had a selection of sandwiches, and cakes/ pastries with a cup of tea. The food was lovely. Having eaten we then went for a leisurely stroll around the palace gardens and took in the lovely lake, trees and plants. Whilst walking around the grounds there were staff walking around with trays of individual strawberryand vanilla ice cream tubs for guests to enjoy .

At 6pm the bands played the National Anthem again and we all stood quietly in respect for the Queen and family , followed by applause to show appreciation for a truly wonderful afternoon. We had an amazing time and would like to thank everyone who was involved in making the day so special, and a massive thankyou to those who nominated us for this opportunity.

The Group at the Palace