Not Forgotten Association Buckingham Palace Tea Party 11 June 2015
Three branch members attended the Tea party at Buckingham Palace on 11 June 2015.
More photographs of the day at: http://www.nfassociation.org/2015/06/photos-of-the-summer-garden-party-at-buckingham-palace-11-june/
This is David's account of the day.
In early April I received a letter from a charity called "The Not Forgotten Association" enquiring if I would like to attend a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on 11th June. My name had been passed to them by my local RAF Association.
To say I was pleased would be an understatement. I accepted immediately.
I was allowed an "escort" so I chose my young grand-daughter Chloe to accompany me. She was thrilled at the prospect of visiting Buckingham Palace.
Getting to London was a worrying factor for a not very mobile 85 year old. Fortunately my son-in-law, John, volunteered his services.
The great day eventually arrived, luckily it was dry and sunny and we set off at 9am. The traffic was quite heavy all the way and especially so when we reached the Kings Road, Chelsea where we met Chloe and had a light lunch.
Driving to the Palace was very difficult. I was glad I was not driving but John made it look easy. We got to the disabled parking entrance just as it opened at 1.15pm.
On the way to the gardens we passed through a few beautifully furnished rooms and had to negotiate 3 sets of stairs. At every stairway footmen and servicemen were waiting to help me down the stairs and welcome us in a very friendly manner.
The gardens were huge and awe-inspiring. The grass was well manicured and there were lots of strategically placed potted plants. There were many eloquent marques.
Arriving so early we were able to find comfortable seats and a table. Then the crowds arrived. I have heard there were more than a hundred guests attending the Garden Party.
Many guests were elderly, some in their 90's but all were cheerful and excited. Those I spoke to were, like me, very much aware of the honour of being invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace. I was dazzled by the profusion of medals on their blazers, some had 2 rows of medals on display. The ladies of all ages were dressed in their finery and all wore an amazing array of hats and fascinators.
Chloe and I circulated among the crowd and found them all very friendly. RAF and Army personnel in uniform were present as hosts. I was pleased to find they all seemed to recognise my RAF tie and were more than willing to chat and offer assistance.
We then made are way to the buffet which was appropriately lavish, plenty of tea, coffee and cold drinks. There was a good variety of cakes and sandwiches. Some of the cakes had crowns imprinted. It seemed a pity to just eat them.
Wandering around the garden we came across a very pretty lake just behind the bandstand where the Band of the Royal Marines played all afternoon.
Princess Anne and husband Timothy Lawrence arrived at 3.30. She looked very nice in a cream coloured jacket. Her husband wore his full Admiral's uniform. They strolled very slowly through the crowd and chatted with their guests. I admired there patience and unfailing courtesy. Eventually they reached the buffet area but still continued to chat and listen to their guests. At about this stage 2 pipers in full highland dress appeared on the lawn and entertained us with a Scottish medley. I enjoyed that - not so sure everyone else did.
The afternoon passed very quickly. At 4.45 the Royal Marine Band gave a marching display on the lawn which attracted much enthusiastic applause. They ended their performance by playing the National Anthem - a signal that the garden party was over. Everyone was reluctant to leave. Chloe and I were among the last to make our exit.
I got home at 9.30 - exhausted but happy at the end of a day to remember.