May 12 29
We had an invitation for a Queens Garden Party, courtesy of being previously President of the Institute of Cast Metals Engineers. We left Birmingham about 1 pm, to reach Buckingham Palace at 4 pm, (the Garden Party was 4-6 pm). This was after major stressing about what dress to buy, for several days, (but not on my part!).
Unfortunately, we ended up crawling down Kilburn High Street in a traffic jam at 4 pm, just 3 miles from the Palace, with the clock ticking away…..
But arriving late gave us a big advantage. We threaded our way through the Japanese tourists and presented our tickets to the cops, to be allowed in and walk through the front of Buckingham Palace on our own, like we owned the place. In fact, arriving was really the best part. Inside we queued up for sandwiches, and then wandered around the gardens a bit. Astonishingly, we then met a couple we knew! We chatted for a bit, then the beefeaters formed up and marched to a central tent, and a whisper went through the crowd “they’re coming out”…
The beefeaters formed an avenue, and we stood two or three deep, waiting for something to happen. Watching Royals is like train-spotting. We saw a Queen, a Prince Philip (Phil the Greek), a Princess Michael of Kent (Princess Pushy), a Prince Michael of Kent, and a Princess Anne. Possibly also a Prince Andrew or a Prince Edward (he had his hat on). After that, another stroll around the gardens until we were encouraged to leave by the police – an event of a lifetime (literally, because you only get invited once).