Royals Kate Middleton Wears Her Boldest Hat Yet for Garden Party at Buckingham Palace Queen Elizabeth previously announced that she would not be attending any garden parties, which celebrate guests' public service, this year By Stephanie Petit Stephanie Petit Stephanie Petit is a Royals Editor, Writer and Reporter at PEOPLE. People Editorial Guidelines Published on May 25, 2022 12:22PM EDT Share Tweet Pin Email Kate Middleton. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/WPA Pool/Shutterstock Kate Middleton and Prince William are stepping in for Queen Elizabeth for a party at the palace. The royal couple led other members of the royal family in hosting the third garden party of the season at Buckingham Palace in London on Wednesday. Kate, 40, and Prince William, 39, greeted many of the thousands of guests who were invited to the royal residence's gardens in recognition of their public service. While it was the first garden party for Prince William since 2019, Kate attended last week's gathering in a coral ensemble by Emilia Wickstead, complemented with pink accessories. For Wednesday's outing, she opted for a pale green dress that she has worn before that was made by her private dressmaker. She accessorized the springtime look with an eye-catching hat that featured a large matching pale green flower. Kate Middleton Steps Out in Bright Coral for Her First Buckingham Palace Garden Party of the Season Dominic Lipinski/WPA Pool/Shutterstock The couple was joined by Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex as well as Princess Beatrice. Garden parties have been held at Buckingham Palace since the 1860s as a way for the monarch to recognize public service. In addition to mingling with members of the royal family, guests are treated to tea and cake. (According to the royal family's website, around 27,000 cups of tea are served and 20,000 slices of cakes are consumed!) Kate Middleton and Prince William. Dominic Lipinski/WPA Pool/Shutterstock After canceling garden parties in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are back in full swing this season — however, Queen Elizabeth announced she would not attend the gatherings this year. The Queen, 96, has been absent from a number of public outings in recent months amid a series of health setbacks and mobility issues. The garden parties would require the monarch to be on her feet for a long duration to greet attendees on the lawn. Dominic Lipinski/WPA Pool/Shutterstock Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more! After Wednesday's event, there is one garden party left on the royal calendar, but the final one of the year will take place at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland, on June 29.