Every year the Lanarkshire Lieutenancy nominates a number of people to attend  Her Majesty the Queen’s Garden Party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse , Edinburgh . After a gap of three  years, due to the Covid Pandemic , this year’s event was held on 29th June . The following report has been written by Duncan Mackay from Bellshill , who attended the Garden Party along with his partner Ann Fairclough,  and captures tremendously what was once again a memorable and special occasion .

“The Queen’s Garden Party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse

Still Reigning – but not raining!

As we travelled by car to the Queen’s Garden Party via Cameron Toll, near to my old stamping ground of East Suffolk Road, there were ominous overcast clouds threatening rain.

After passing the Commonwealth Swimming Pool, we entered the winding roads of Holyrood Park. By the time we parked the car in the spacious grounds, the weather cleared up with a blue sky, white clouds and a pleasantly warm atmosphere. The weather reflected the positive and vibrant mood of the whole day.

Having arrived early, we had a brief lunch in the car. As gradually more and more cars arrived, we made our way to the south entrance of Holyroodhouse. By this time very long queues of people were gathering, but we entered the grounds shortly after confirming our identity to the police on duty.

My first impression on entering the grounds was how large and beautiful the Palace and grounds actually are. Alongside the Palace could be seen the impressive ruins of the Abbey Church.

The gardens are covered with great stretches of lawns upon which elegant marquees had been erected for the purposes of serving tea, including the main tea tent intended for the Royal Party and selected guests. A great number of wooden tables with accompanying seats were also placed throughout the grounds for tea.

At 3.30pm tea began to be served. Contrary to the fabled rumours of tea accompanied by small cucumber sandwiches, the selection of food and drinks served was most impressive and beautifully presented.

There was a traditional afternoon tea menu including sultana scones with clotted cream and jam, sizable cucumber and fresh mint sandwiches, Victoria sponge wedges alongside gooseberry mint elderflower presse, teas and coffee. The traditional British menu also included gammon sandwiches with tomato and mustard.

We greatly enjoyed the tea menu, only regretting that we had some lunch beforehand!

Two military bands played alternately throughout the afternoon – a pipe band and a brass band, contributing to the exciting and lively atmosphere.

At 4.00pm the band struck up the National Anthem and the Royal Party emerged from the main entrance of Holyroodhouse. Lining the pathway in attendance were the Royal Company of Archers in their green uniforms and the High Constables in their blue uniforms. Prince Charles (The Duke of Rothesay) , Prince Edward, Sophie Wessex (The Earl and Countess of Wessex and Forfar), Princess Anne (The Princess Royal) and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Lawrence were present. The Countess of Wessex wore a dusty pink dress complete with silver jewellery, while the Princess Royal wore a jewel-coloured teal frock with a light blue jacket and a white hat. They all made their way round the crowd in a circular fashion, and although I did not personally speak to them, we had a good view of the Royal Party.

At around 4.50pm the Royal Family took tea in the Royal Tea Tent, and guests included Lord Steel and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

After tea, the Royal Family departed and made their way back to Holyroodhouse to warm applause from the guests. We were fortunate to be able to take a variety of photos of the occasion, which will be a wonderful record and reminder of a great day. It was indeed a privilege to be invited to what was the hottest ticket in town!

The weather stayed warm and dry all day. It was appropriate that in the year of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, celebrating seventy years of her reign , that there was indeed no rain .

Duncan Mackay”

Many thanks to Duncan for his excellent report .

Posted by Gavin Whitefield