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Queen in shades as sun shines for first royal garden party of the season

Thousands were invited to Buckingham Palace for tea and sandwiches.

The Queen looked cool in a pair of sun glasses as she attended the first garden party of the summer – but clutched an umbrella just in case.

With much of the country enjoying strong sunshine, the Queen hosted the first of a string of outdoor parties at Buckingham Palace, inviting thousands into the gardens.

The Queen was joined by the Duke of York and the Earl and Countess of Wessex on the palace lawns for the garden party heralding the start of the summer season which includes Royal Ascot and Trooping the Colour.

Wearing a jade coloured coat by Stewart Parvin and a matching hat by Rachel Trevor-Morgan, the head of state walked among her guests carrying her Fulton umbrella trimmed in the same colour.

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The Earl and Countess of Wessex and the Duke of York attended the party (John Stillwell/PA)

The shades protected the Queen’s eyes from the glare of the bright sunshine that brought with it high temperatures for the time of year.

The Queen is rarely seen wearing sun glasses at official occasions and is normally spotted with them at private events such as when she goes horse racing.

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The Queen held on to an umbrella at the garden party (John Stillwell/PA)

Garden parties have been held at Buckingham Palace since the 1860s when Queen Victoria began what were known as “breakfasts”, although they took place in the afternoon.

Today the Queen hosts three garden parties a year at Buckingham Palace and one at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, with more than 30,000 people attending in total.

The quantities of afternoon tea served are enormous, with 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake consumed during a typical garden party.

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