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A Royal Garden Party

When the moment came to get in line as The Royal Family came out of The Palace you could feel the excitement building...

We are Honoured to receive 2 invitations to the Queen’s Garden Party each year, as our Patron is His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. One Walk the Walk team member has the privilege to attend each year and takes someone with them who we feel deserves this very special treat!

My name is Linda and I have worked at Walk the Walk for 8 years now as part of the PR Team. On Tuesday 23rd May, I had the privilege of representing Walk the Walk at the Queen’s Garden Party with the lovely Liz Hackett, one of our wonderful walkers, as my guest. We took a short stroll from Liz’s hotel to Buckingham Palace with me telling her en route that one of her jobs that day was to spot if my hairclips were coming out at the back of my head – could’ve been slightly embarrassing as I had a faux hair bun pinned in. I told Liz “if it falls out in the line-up to meet His Royal Highness we either have to kick it out of the way or stand on it” Luckily it behaved.

There are three entry points into Buckingham Palace on Garden Party days but as Liz and I were close enough, we thought it would be rather nice to walk in through the “front door” as such. I really had to pinch myself (but tried to remain cool and not look like an excited five-year old) as we wandered through the gates of the palace…it’s really quite a surreal experience and one I’ll never forget. We were ushered through the palace (quick look around…beautiful as you’d expect) and straight into the garden where Liz and I were met by an Equerry who explained to us what to expect and where to stand.

Liz and I then had a half hour or so to take a stroll through the garden and just take a really good look around. It really is a beautiful garden with a lake at the bottom of it. We had been told it was fine to take photos as long as you’re subtle about it and don’t try and whip out a paparazzi style long lens at The Royal Family. Naturally we took full advantage of this and managed to get some lovely photos to remember the day by.

When the moment came to get in line as The Royal Family came out of The Palace you could feel the excitement building and I have to say that Her Majesty the Queen looked magnificent in bright yellow. Her Majesty and Prince Phillip stood at the top of the steps leading down to the garden as there was a minute’s silence in memory of those who had lost their lives, and been injured, in the Manchester bomb attack the night before. I have to say it was extremely moving and I’m not ashamed to say I had a lump in my throat at this point. 

Excited doesn’t even come close to how I felt as The Queen and Prince Phillip then came down the steps and moved off through the garden to greet people and head off to the special tea tent reserved for The Royal Family and their guests.

It’s true I felt slightly apprehensive at meeting His Royal Highness but he was charm personified as we chatted and made us feel much more relaxed. 

Once our chat with His Royal Highness was over, Liz and I headed off to get our tea (much excitement as you can imagine.) No queue either as everyone else had already had theirs which was fabulous. Apparently it’s fine to mix both little finger sandwiches and cake on the same plate so obviously I took full advantage of that. The sandwiches were ham and cheese and other fillings – I really felt I needed to try the traditional cucumber sandwich and I was surprised to find a little mint in there too! Surprisingly tasty. The cakes were lovely too, I think my favourite was the mini coffee eclair which was about the size of my thumb.

Liz and I looked around for somewhere to sit and luckily a couple of ladies moved away and we quickly sat down. A bit of a relief to get off the high-heels for a little while to be honest. I glanced up to see this chap with a rather splendid necklace on to which I pointed and said “wow, that’s rather spectacular isn’t it?” he then told me he was The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth and proceeded to explain all the different elements of his official chain of office. Interestingly, each previous Lord Mayor has his name etched on a link of the chain.

After saying goodbye to our new chums Liz and I wandered off into the garden again, it was nearly time to leave so we just wanted to take it all in once more. Moving a little more gingerly at this point and trying really, really hard not to go bare-foot (not the done thing apparently) we just stood still for a few minutes soaking up the atmosphere before The Royal Family came out of their tea-tent and moved through the crowds once more. Being  a shorty is a bit of a disadvantage when there is a crowd – especially as the Queen is not blessed with height herself but luckily Liz spotted a gap for me to be able to snap a photo as Her Majesty passed...a lovely moment for me to remember.

The Garden Party was over and Liz and I made our way up the garden steps once more and through the palace (another quick glance around) and we were back in the courtyard and heading towards the gates. Once we found ourselves back on the street Liz and I headed back towards her hotel. I spotted a woman crouching down taking her high-heels off and putting on a pair off pumps. I marched up to her and said loudly “I’ll give you a million pounds for your ballet pumps!”…she refused!

Once back at Liz’s hotel we flopped down into a comfy sofa and ordered a gin and tonic each, chatting about our fabulous day. It really was a privilege to have been part of such a wonderful occasion and I shall remember it always. Huge thanks to Liz for being such a lovely (and fun) companion for the day.

Linda 

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