Rain at the Royal Garden Party…
I didn’t get an invite to the Royal Garden party this year because no one is supposed to get a second one. It was lucky for me that I went last year because this year the first party of the year was severely disrupted by rain.
Someone I know went and he told me that it didn’t really spoil the day because he had already eaten his plate of fourteen sandwiches and cakes that the royal kitchen estimates that each guest consumes and he had seen the Queen by the time the bad weather moved in and he was forced to shelter under one of the large trees in the Palace garden.
He also conceded however that it would have been better without the drenching.
The Queen’s eight thousand guests, most of whom had dressed for warmer weather in fine hats and summer frocks, had to dash for shelter when the summer tea party was hit by torrential downpours. Half an inch of rain fell in just ten minutes and in all three inches fell in the storm that hit London in the late afternoon. Hail stones, some almost half an inch wide, left the lawns of the royal residence white with ice and some of the visitors had to be carried from the garden over huge puddles that formed on the gravel paths.
Luckily, Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh had completed their walkabout before the early evening downpour and managed to stay dry but as lightning approached, staff decided to evacuate the Queen and the royal party, which included the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of York and the Duke of Gloucester, back to the safety of the Palace
Bad weather at a Royal Garden Party…
Bad weather isn’t unusual however and there have been previous washouts in 1931, 1937, 1944 and 2000. In 1996 a bolt of lightning hit the garden and two people were burnt and injured. And it isn’t just rain that can spoil the day because in 1958 there was a heat wave and it was so hot that several guests collapsed with heat stroke and had to be treated in hospital. There was no sun protection cream in 1958!
I am afraid that there is not much one can do about bad weather and if it rains then I am afraid that guests are just going to get wet. There is a pavilion tent for the Queen and her family and a large tent where the sandwiches are served but there is not nearly enough room in there for everyone.
There are 8,000 guests at a Royal Garden Party and although the Palace is huge (77,000 square metres) I am fairly certain that the Queen wouldn’t want 8,000 damp people in muddy shoes and wet clothes wandering around over the royal carpets, pilfering the treasures and helping themselves to the gin! I cannot get this vision out of my head of the Queen making an announcement from the back door, ‘oh do please come inside all of you, you’ll catch your death of cold out there’ or perhaps the more direct Prince Philip, ‘Don’t stand out there getting wet you silly buggers, bloody well come inside!’