Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Tea at the Palace!

I promised I would tell you a little bit about my visit to Buckingham Palace and the garden party last Tuesday so here goes. It was a lovely sunny afternoon and having had a complete dilemma about what to wear I decided on a green and gold outfit which I had bought in Malaysia a long time ago but which had that air of being something special yet able to blend in wherever. I was glad I had gone for this as everyone was very dressed up for the occasion. I have never seen so many hats and so many large ones at that! When we arrived, having passed through security, we were guided through the palace, seeing the beautiful sofas, china in cabinets and paintings etc and out onto the lawn at the back. There are large refreshment tents with seats and tables outside and we made our way there. Deligthful cucumber sandwiches with mint (no crusts and no rind of cucumber- note!), ham sandwiches and salmon sandwiches - all cut in portions of around 1 inch by 4 inches; the tiniest bridge rolls I have ever seen, packed with prawn mayonnaise; delicate tarts bearing three raspberries or four quarters of a strawberry; tiny choux pastry tarts, chocolate slices and a choice of English apple juice, iced coffee or tea. It was all very delicious!
Then it was time for the Yeoman of the Guard to parade and herald the arrival of the Queen. We stood in line around a large loop and various people who had been given a special card to say that they would get to speak to the Queen were briefed and allowed to stand slightly out of the crowd ready to meet her. The Queen was wearing mostly white with red embellishments - a coat and dress and hat of course. It is truly amazing that at 82 she has the strength and energy to appear so alive and interested in so many people. It is a long way around the loop that she walks and talks to many.
After all this we took a little more refreshment and then walked around the Palace gardens which were really very beautiful finishing off with a little tub of vanilla ice cream provided by very busy waiters and waitresses who were dashing here and there to feed the 9,000 people who had turned up. Yes, 9,000! I asked one of the guards at the door as we left and he said that usually it is somewhere between 7-9,000 but on that particular day he was sure it was 9,000.
So, a truly special day and one to remember. I don't regard myself as a royalist but it was indeed an experience and a privilege to have taken part in one of Britain's great traditions.

(there were no cameras or photos allowed so the ones at the top are from good old Google)


Tracy said...

Congratulations on being able to attend such an outstanding experience--so exciting! Thank you for sharing lots about your day...The Queen is an amazing monarch, and impressive how she keeps going, just like her own mum! Happy Days ((HUGS))

Kristin said...

Oh that sounds like such a lovely time! Considering the name of your blog, tea and the palace with little tea sandwiches and ice cream sounds like the perfect day. I didn't realize how old she was, absolutely amazing how full of grace and strength she is.

driftwood said...

sounds fantastic your lovely description made up for the lack of photos, of the yummy food - what adorable sounding sandwiches!