Tuesday, 16 June 2015

SKETCHBOOK - Buckingham Palace Garden Party

What could be more British than afternoon tea? Recently I attended the grandest of all tea parties where 400 waiting staff served 20,000 sandwiches, 20,000 slices of cake, and 27,000 cups of tea to the accompaniment of two military bands. This was no ordinary garden party; it was held in the grounds at Buckingham Palace.

The reasons for my invitation must remain a state secret but my tie was chosen by public vote. Garden Party guests came from all over the UK and beyond, all dressed in their best - tails or lounge suits for the gentlemen, hats and posh frocks for the ladies. I don't think I've ever seen 7,500 people in a more convivial mood.

Buckingham Palace Garden Parties are said to be one of the most relaxed royal occasions. Watching the Queen and Prince Philip chatting to people in the crowd made me realise it was yet another event where they were networking on behalf of the nation. One lady near me wondered whether to curtsey or shake hands if the Queen spoke to her. I suggested the accepted protocol was to give a high five.

Cameras were banned but the security briefing made no mention of sketchbooks. Here are a few of my sketches which capture something of the costumes and characters strolling about in the afternoon sunshine. 

(Click to enlarge the drawings.)