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How to Throw an English Garden Party Like the Queen 


As the Queen celebrates her 90th anniversary. It’s only fair we investigated how Chelsea Monthly will throw a party fit for a Queen…

Royal Garden Party Protocol 

Customarily the Royal Family enter their annual English tea party to the tune of 10,000 upturned voices signing ‘God Save Our Queen’. Follow in their footsteps at your royal garden party by making a grand entrance!

If the prospect of the vocal outpour of your guest list unnerves you, consider playing a chunky track over an impeccable sound system to lighten the mood.

It is customary for the Royal Family follow separate ‘lanes’ through the crowd at their annual English garden party to ensure fairly distributed interaction throughout: an excellent strategy for any highly attended English tea party.

While there are no formal rules for greeting a Royal, unspoken rules of etiquette are always enforced. Curtsies from ladies and head bows from gentlemen are appropriate at royal garden parties, but selfies, overly vigorous handshakes and hugs are not.

You don’t want to preside over your Queen Garden Party as crumpled as a crumpet.

Queen Garden Party Faux Pas 

At English tea parties seating plans matter, and ignorance of even antiquated protocol could lead your royal garden party to falter. It is a time-honoured custom and ancient insurance policy against stilted conversation that the hostess converses with the guest to her right first.

Lewis Hamilton famously ‘forgot’ his etiquette at the royal table when he attempted to engage HRH in conversation as the first course was served, despite being seated her left. Needless to say Mr Hamilton was sharply reproached before being greeted once more by her elegant, royal back.

English Garden Party Food and Drink 

When it comes to a regal English tea party, there is no such thing as excess. At the Queen’s annual royal garden party over 27,000 cups of tea are served! Earl Grey is the chosen blend. Try Twinings or Fortnum & Mason, as both carry Royal Warrants.

Other important items on a Queen Garden Party menu are HRH’s favourite English garden party dainties: perfect crust-free tuna and cucumber sandwiches, British strawberries, Queen Victoria’s chocolate ganache sponge and jam pennies (crust-free jam sandwiches the size of an old English penny). To wash it all down? HRH will take a gin Dubonnet cocktail (a.k.a. the Zaza) over champagne any day. To make, pour equal quantities of gin and Dubonnet over ice and garnish with lemon peel.