Website of the Laceby History Group

Royal Garden Party - July 19th 1990

We were hoping for a good day and it dawned bright and sunny. We left Southampton at 12.30pm in the capable hands of our son-on-law who knows the area. As we approached the road from Fawley the traffic built up and it was very hot in the car. The car drivers seemed impatient, with a lot of hooter blowing and black looks coming from them.

We arrived in London about 2.30pm and left the car in Green Park. As we walked through the park we enjoyed some cool refreshments and many people were there picnicing or just lazing around. As we arrived at the Palace there were folks of every colour and creed with visitors from all over the world. The security was very tight and we felt sorry for the Guards in the sentry boxes who must have been very hot but looking very smart. The time was now 2.4Spm and taxis were arriving and thousands queueing to get in. Photographers were waiting to take pictures.

The gates opened at 3.30pm and we followed the crowd ushered in by men in morning suits looking very smart. Beafeaters were at every entrance directing people where to go. The lawns of the Palace were magnificent looking like smooth green velvet. The flowere beds were in full bloom with the colours red and purple predominating. The salvias were glorious.

All the ladies were in interesting clothes. I counted only two without hats. I heard one lady remark that, "Our hats take up more room than we do!" We heard that the Royals were taking tea at Spm. We spoke to two New Zealanders who were in England for 18 months. The man was in a morning suit and his wife in navy and white with a gorgeous picture hat.

We were then shown into a large lounge with candelabra and maroon coloured furniture which looked as if it shouldn't be sat on - all very elegant. There were two bands playing as we emerged on the lawn and about 8,000 people being entertained. Many distinguished looking gentlemen possibly diplomats were arriving at the Royal tea enclosure. Everyone was standing as there were no seats :

As we mingled with the crowd we spotted Edwina Curry chatting with people, dressed in navy and white. Others we picked out were Cecil Parkinson and his wife who was dressed all in red. The refreshments consisted of open sandwiches, all kinds of delicious cakes, small sweet pancakes, cold fruit drinks and iced coffee.

We stood around waiting for the Royals to appear and eventually the Queen came dressed in a green suit and matching hat. She was accompanied by Prince Philip, Princess Di and Princess Anne. They chatted to people and I happened to be near Princess Anne. She was taling to someone and she looked at her watch and said, "I must dash, I'm late".

Eventually the Royals came to the tea enclosure hailed by a fanfare. Some folk stood on chairs for a better view but were asked not to by the gentlemen ushers.

The lake at the far end of the gardens was full with water-lilies. Dick and I were standing together when Douglas Hurd passed also in morning dress. It was a great experience seeing well-known people in the flesh.

The ladies' powder room was charming in pink and white and we were handed paper towels as we entered. The place had an enchanting, perfumed smell. By this time my feet ached and I was pleased to find a chair and sit down. We saw the Duchess of Kent pass, who is one of my favourites.

The day ended and we were happy to have had a lovely day.

Beryl Waterman