The Queen was joined by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at her first garden party of the season today – sporting her stylish tinted glasses due to the glorious spring weather.
Dressed in a powder blue Stuart Parvin coat with a floral silk dress in shades of pink, powder blue and taupe, and a beautiful hat by Rachel Trevor Morgan, the 93-year-old monarch looked in sparkling form as she laughed and chatted with her guests.
The annual Buckingham Palace garden parties, started in the 1860s by Queen Victoria, are a way of recognising and rewarding public service and see people from all walks of life enjoy high tea on the lawn to the sounds of a military band.
Typically prepared, the Queen was ready for all weather eventualities and arrived wearing sunglasses with an umbrella in hand.
The Queen was clearly delighted by the sunshine, telling Victoria English, 50, a teacher from Newport: ‘Well you do rather hope the sun shines as when you invite 8,000 people to have tea on your lawn it can be a bit of a worry.’
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have joined the Queen for a garden party at Buckingham Palace this afternoon
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The Queen may have held a garden party for 8,000 guests, but the Duchess of Cambridge stood out from the crowd in her exquisite ensemble.
Teaming an Alexander McQueen coat dress with a floral hat by Juliette Botterill, Gianvito Rossi heels, a clutch from Loeffler Randall and Princess Diana’s pearl earrings, Kate looked beautifully summer-ready.
She frequently favours a coat dress, and this version is a prime example of her signature style. Featuring a classic double-breasted front, fit-and-flare silhouette and demure midi length, it’s ideal for any formal occasion.
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The Queen plumped for an ice blue Stuart Parvin coat, which she wore with a beautiful hat adorned with flowers by Rachel Trevor Morgan
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, centre, spoke to several guests as they made their way around the party this evening
The Duchess of Cambridge accessorised with Princess Diana’s pearl earrings, left. Right, with husband Prince William
The Duchess of Cambridge burst into laughter as she shared a light-hearted moment with William and some of the guests
The Duchess of Cambridge gazed lovingly at her husband as they spoke to guests, left. The Queen brought a splash of colour to proceedings in her blue coat, right
The Queen looks out over the garden party on her arrival this evening. This is the second of four garden parties this summer
Women in their finest dresses and men in their smartest suits enjoy a picnic in the grounds of Buckingham Palace
She chatted with Victoria’s friend, Indian classical dance teacher Retha Girish, 48, from Cardiff, about Indian dance: ‘She was telling me how much she admired it, how graceful it was and how she loved the colours and the hand movements.’
She also spoke to artist Yinka Shonibare, who recently received a CBE from her grandson, Prince William, for services to art.
‘We chatted abut the Royal Academy and my Trafalgar Square instillation, the ship in the bottle. I told her The Victory was now at the British Maritime Museum and she said that was the best place for it,’ he said.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meanwhile chatted animatedly with Jonathan Jenkins and Lindsey Dixon from London’s Air Ambulance.
Kate, 37, looked elegant in a favourite pink coat dress by Alexander McQueen, which she paired with a matching Juliette Botterill hat and delicate pearl earrings that once belonged to Princess Diana.
The royal finished the look with classic nude suede pumps by Gianvito Rossi and a clutch by Loeffler Randall.
In-keeping with the dress code, the Duke of Cambridge, 36, was in morning dress and carried his top hat.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are introduced to guests as they make their way around the party this evening
The Duchess of Cambridge was charming as she arrived at the garden party, left. Right, the Queen smiling at the event
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge followed the Queen into the soiree on a sunny evening in London, pictured
Ms Dixon congratulated Kate on her Chelsea flower show garden, but the Duchess replied: ‘Oh no, it was a real family affair. I couldn’t have done it without William and the children. We were all very involved.’
William also chatted about his recent mental health initiatives to London’s Air Ambulance CEO Mr Jenkins, including his recent BBC television discussion on men’s mental health.
Also present today were the Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, The Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra.
Kate smiles as her dapper husband, wearing a tailcoat, chats to guests at the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace
The Queen greets guests at the garden party, which gives Her Majesty the opportunity to meet people from across the UK
The Queen looked ready for spring in her ice blue coat and hat, which was finished with pink flowers on the brim
Onlookers took out their phones to snap photos of Her Majesty as she made her way around the soiree
The garden party is the second one this summer, with two more scheduled for June and July, one of which will be held at Holyrood Palace.
Every year, the Queen invites 30,000 people to attend the parties and last year 8,000 guests attended the first soiree of the season, held at Buckingham Palace earlier this month.
For the occasion men are asked to wear morning dress or lounge suits while women are invited to wear a ‘day dress, usually with hats or fascinators’.
The garden parties serve are an important way for the royals to speak to a broad range of people from all walks of life, all of whom have made a positive impact in their community.
At each Garden Party, around 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake are consumed.
Her Majesty strolls around the grounds of Buckingham Palace, where several Yeomen of the Guard (right) were in attendance this afternoon
Yeomen of the Guard perform a traditional march at the garden party in the grounds of Buckingham Palace in central London
The Queen was accompanied by her second son, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, who looked dapper in morning dress
The Queen’s garden party – her second one this summer – is held in the sprawling grounds of Buckingham Palace