The Duchess of Cambridge and The Earl and Countess of Wessex hosted a garden party at Buckingham Palace today on behalf of The Queen, alongside Princess Alexandra.
It comes after The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and The Princess Royal hosted the first Garden Party of 2022. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, garden parties have not been held since 2019.
Garden parties are hosted to recognise contributions across society, from charity workers and volunteers to members of the civil service. 30,000 guests are welcomed across the four events, three in London and one in Edinburgh.
The function took the place of presentation parties attended by debutantes, which ceased in the 1960s, but evolved into a way of recognising and rewarding public service. Guests nominated by a network of sponsors, including government departments and the Armed Forces.
Royals arrive promptly at 4pm, and the National Anthem plays. Guests arrive an hour before to enjoy music, as well as tea and cakes from the palace kitchens on the lawns.
Catherine opted for a candy pink Emilia Wickstead coat dress that she owns in other colours. The Duchess paired it with pink pointed heels and added an old hat by Jane Taylor, in a matching shade.
Meanwhile, Sophie was elegant in an old dress from white dress with a pink and purple floral pattern. The Countess of Wessex teamed the dress with a Jane Taylor white hat with black trim and her nude Prada heels.
Buckingham Palace has previously stated The Queen would not be attending any garden parties, but instead would be represented by other members of the Royal Family.
The Queen, who is 96 and recently encountered ‘episodic’ mobility problems, has cut back on several engagements in recent months. By attending Garden Parties would mean she would have to stand for more than an hour and move down rows of gathered guests to chat.
However, she made a surprise appearance at the official opening of the Elizabeth Line yesterday, where Her Majesty learnt how to use an Oyster card…!
Traditionally, Her Majesty hosts three Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace, and one at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Scotland. Another Garden Party will be carried out at Buckingham Palace on 25th May, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh will be the venue on 29th June.