First Garden Party of the year for The King and Queen

It was also Charles' first of his reign

With just days to go before he is crowned, this afternoon The King hosted the first garden party of his reign.

Kicking off the month of May when garden parties are traditionally held at Buckingham Palace, Charles was joined by Queen Camilla, along with The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, The Duke of Kent, and The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

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This specific gathering was to celebrate the forthcoming coronization, to use a Victorian term.

Guests are invited from all walks of life in recognition of their public service, a theme which will also be reflected at the coronation. A further three will be held in London this year, and one in Edinburgh during Holyrood week at the end of June.

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It is a tradition that replaced the formal presentation of debutantes in the 1960s, but is an event that has been held at Buckingham Palace since Queen Victoria.

With the royal men in tails and top hats, and the women showing off an array of summery hats, the national anthem marked their arrival on the Terrace promptly at 4pm.

The weather held, allowing the some 8,000 guests to mingle in the pleasant Spring sunshine, with some lucky groups being presented to the Royals.

The King and Queen were joined by The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, Duke of Kent , and Duke and Duchess of Gloucester for the first garden party (Royal Family)

Tea and cakes were served from the palace kitchen beforehand, offering a taste of royal hospitality, with musical accompaniment from military bands.

Amongst the guests were Lionel Ritchie, and his partner, Lisa Parigi. The singer has been involed with The Prince’s Trust since the 1980s.

He spoke to the press about his upcoming role at Sunday’s coronation concert saying: ‘This is going to be so much fun,’ he said. ‘Does this ever happen? No. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so to be a part of it is everything.

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‘In your career, there are Oscars and then there are Grammys and then there’s a Coronation… are you kidding me?! This doesn’t happen every day, so am I excited about this? Absolutely! This is going to be the best thing ever!’ he said.

‘Windsor Castle as the backdrop? Come on, let’s be serious! There is no [other] example of something like this. It’s not like any other time in life or occasion.’

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Speaking of The King, with whom he spoke during the event, Ritchie said: ‘Believe or not he cares. He is hands on. My job is to do the things that he cannot do, interviews and things like that. His time is valuable. So when I am travelling on my tours, this is what I do. I spread the world.’

He also confirmed he would be attending the coronation itself on Saturday.

Dozens of the Queen Consort’s Coronation Champions Award winners were also in attendance. The initiative, organised by the Royal Voluntary Service, has rewarded 500 of the country’s most dedicated volunteers for their inspiring work.

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The late Queen last attended a garden party in 2019, having been represented by her family at the parties since, with a disruption during covid.

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