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Queen’s Palace garden parties cancelled because of coronavirus pandemic

The decision follows the new Government advice on ending all non-essential contact.


The Queen during a garden party at Buckingham Palace (Yui Mok/PA)

The Queen during a garden party at Buckingham Palace (Yui Mok/PA)

The Queen during a garden party at Buckingham Palace (Yui Mok/PA)

The Queen’s garden parties at Buckingham Palace have been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The decision affects the five due to be held in London this year, but the Palace of Holyroodhouse garden party in Edinburgh, which takes place in July, will remain under review.

More than 8,000 guests at a time mingle on the lawns of the Queen’s official residence in London.

Royal Garden Party
The Queen at a garden party (Yui Mok/PA)

The garden parties in London are usually held between May and July.

Although the event is outdoors, guests – many of them elderly – gather to watch the Queen and senior royals circulate down lanes of people.

Guests also queue in tea tents and take their seats on nearby chairs, with around 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake consumed at each party.

Royal Garden Party
Guests attending a garden party at Buckingham Palace (Ben Stansall/PA)

Three of the London garden parties are hosted by the Queen and two by charities such as the Not Forgotten Association.

The palace said people invited to the Queen’s garden parties this year will automatically be invited to next year’s instead.

More than 30,000 people attend the garden parties each year, dressed in their finery, rubbing shoulders with the royal family at the afternoon soiree.

Garden Party at Buckingham Palace
Yeomen of the Guard march at a garden party (Niklas Halle’n/PA)

The royals enter the party to the National Anthem, and then tea and cakes are served.

Yeomen of the Guard, dressed in their red and gold ceremonial costumes, form part of the proceedings, and guests are free to stroll around the vast expanse of the gardens while a military band plays background music.

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.