In the 1860’s, Queen Victoria instituted the custom of hosting “garden parties” at Buckingham Palace. They were initially called “breakfasts” despite being held in the afternoon and there were originally two per year. These parties have seen thousands of guests over the years from various walks of life, all of whom have had an influence of some kind on British culture and history. Invitations to these select few are sent out each year by the Lord Chamberlain, only after each has been nominated by a royal or government official.
If you have a garden of your own and have recently invested for a delightful marquee you may be familiar with the measurement of hectares and landscape planning. The garden at Buckingham Place is 17 hectares and has held as many as 30,000 guests at past garden parties. In the 1950’s the number of garden parties per year at the palace was increased to three and a fourth one was added at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. We don’t attain to be lucky enough, yet, to being able to provide the Queen with her very own marquee but it is a possibility that we here at Crystal Marquees can cater for such a request.
The main source of sustenance at garden parties is tea, cakes, and sandwiches. At the most recent party, 27,000 cups of tea and 20,000 sandwiches were served. The Queen herself takes tea in the Royal Tea Tent, a marquee area that is roped off and allows entry only to the Queen, personal guests, royals, and members of the Diplomatic Corps. Thousands stand outside the ropes each year hoping to get a brief glimpse of the Queen.
The garden party at Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s primary residence in Scotland, is held during the Queen’s Holyrood Week, which runs from the end of June to the beginning of July. It is an event which is co-hosted by the sitting Duke of Edinburgh and is used as an opportunity to present awards and recognitions for achievement. Though not as extravagant as the garden parties at Buckingham Palace with the grand marquees and tasty tea, the Holyrood version does bring in 8000 guests per year, mainly Scots.
The garden party idea of Queen Victoria has become popular with other governments around the world in the past century and a half. Most of the European nations have similar functions, and the White House in the United States often does events of state in their “Rose Garden”. Typically, an outdoor setting like this helps to create an informal, relaxed atmosphere where visitors can get to know the royal family. It’s also an opportunity for the Queen to recognise the achievements of Britons who contribute positively to the Commonwealth.
We do aspire to one day setting up a nice marquee within the grounds of the white house but at the present moment in time we are pleased to cater not just in Surrey but all the surrounding home counties of England with luxurious marquees suitable for any occasion. Have a landscape you are interested in placing a marquee within, take a look at our marquee planner.