Royal Garden Parties - Throughout July
Over 30,000 people attend the Royal Garden Parties each year. They are used today as a way to enable the British Establishment to reward public service and outstanding contributions to the community in a way which the former Coming Out parties did not.
Admission is by invitation only, and all invitations are sent out by the Lord Chamberlain on behalf of The Queen, in fact all the arrangements are planned by the Lord Chamberlain's Office. One of the characteristics of these parties is the long queues, if you thought the queues for the Millenium Dome were bad wait until you are invited to a Royal Garden Party.
Eventually you hand in your invitation and then seemingly in the Palace garden itself, the sense of over-crowding disappears. Uniformed Yeomen of the Guard, Gentlemen at Arms and Gentlemen Ushers are responsible for overseeing the guests and bringing some of them (not all) forward to speak to the Queen. When the members of the Royal Family emerge from the Palace, the Lord Chamberlain walks beside the Queen and the other members take separate routes so that they come into contact with as many people as possible. After meeting several members of the public, the Queen has tea in the royal tent, then meets distinguished Commonwealth visitors and begins a slow progress back to the Palace.
The dress code for these events is very strice, gentlemen are expected to wear morning dress, lounge suits or uniform, whilst ladies wear afternoon dress (usually with hats). However, national dress can also be worn.
Click here to see more about the Royal Garden Parties.