The Royal Garden Parties are held by the Queen and other members of the Royal Family to welcome people to Buckingham Palace and the Palace Holyroodhouse in recognition for their service to their communities. Three Buckingham Palace Garden Parties take place each summer, one takes places in Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. The parties were introduced by Queen Victoria in the 1860s, allowing the Queen and other senior Royals to speak to a wide range of people from different backgrounds.
The Garden Party is a once in lifetime opportunity for guests so it calls for formal dress. Ladies are requested to wear Special Occasion day dresses with hats and fascinators, while gentlemen wear morning dress or lounge suits. As with Henley and Ascot, high heels aren’t recommended as they get stuck in the Buckingham Palace lawn.
A pretty tea style dress with floral print would work well, as would an off the shoulder fun and bright print tea dress. With the unpredictable British summer in mind, it’s best to keep an eye on the weather. So an umbrella and lightweight jacket are an excellent investment so that you can cover up in style.
The etiquette for the parties is to be discreet but have fun. This means switching off your phone and refraining from taking pictures, standing still while the national anthem is played (it’s played when the Queen arrives and when she leaves the party) and not being too nosey about why other guests are there.
The parties last for three hours in which everyone has an equal chance of speaking to Her Majesty. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh circulate among the guests before arriving at the Royal Tea Tent. Guests are encouraged to sample the sandwiches, drink tea served in white and gold cups marked with the monarch’s initials and to stroll around the Palace gardens.