The Queen looked lovely in emerald green, Princess Anne was very fine in a dull gold coat dress and Prince Philip came up and had a chat with my husband, Joe, about his South Atlantic Medal Association tie. This made Joe's day and he and the prince had a laugh together, which was lovely. Other Royals attending were Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall (in a cream dress with square box pleats to her skirt - ver smart), the Duke and Duchess of Kent and the Countess of Wessex (with very tall feathers in her hat!). I was not expecting so many Royals to be present. It really was a family affair!
The weather let everyone down as it repeatedly showered heavily. I had had the forethought to buy a couple of the tiny umbrellas you can get nowadays that fold down into an unobtrusive size. These were invaluable but disappeared into trouser pocket and handbag respectively between downpours. Their covers were waterproof, so that was useful.
The lady guests were very splendid, particularly those from overseas, whose outfits were very colourful. There were some very fine hats to be seen but a bigger array of fascinators than I was expecting. Mine fitted in perfectly.
We walked around the lake - one mother duck had a brood of 7 tiny fluffy ducklings trying to keep up with her, which was sweet to see. The rose garden was particularly fragrant because of the good soaking it was receiving.
The queues for the tea were not too long and the afternoon tea itself was splendid. I have never thought of putting mint into cucumber sandwiches. This was both refreshing and very tasty. The mini scones (the size of a 10p piece) were delicious with their generous spreading of clotted cream and jam. I love Dundee cake and was pleased to see that was on the menu too! Other items included salmon bites, ham and tomato and egg and cress sandwiches, slices of Victoria sponge and chocolate ganache squares. The ice cream, which came around later on large trays carried by the uniformed staff, was super. We had strawberry and it was full of whole frozen fruit.
The palace itself was interesting. I have never taken a tour but would be tempted to do so now I have been inside. The few rooms we were allowed to see were very nicely decorated, with fine china on display as well as some very good portraits.
In all, it was a super afternoon. The organisation is very well practiced and if anything had gone wrong, well, we did not notice.
Our thanks, Your Majesty, for the kind and very welcome invitation.