Queen Elizabeth Broke Her Own Protocol at Palace Garden Party — for the Sweetest Reason!
Laura-Ann Barr knew from previously meeting Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle that flowers were a sure way to grab the royals' attention
When you’re Queen, you can break your own rules.
Belfast-based blogger Laura-Ann Barr scored a coveted invitation to Queen Elizabeth‘s garden party at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, and she wanted to show her appreciation to the 93-year-old monarch with a gift: a bouquet of flowers.
In a video captured by Laura-Ann’s mother and shared on Instagram, the Queen graciously stopped and accepted the flowers with a smile thanked the blogger for complimenting her pink ensemble. She then handed the bouquet off to one of her ladies-in-waiting who told Laura-Ann, “It might be easier for me to carry them, and the Queen can have them when we’re indoors.”
The exciting moment came as a shock — given that Laura-Ann was warned that the Queen usually doesn’t accept flowers at garden parties.
“I didn’t see anyone else with flowers,” the blogger tells PEOPLE. “I suppose it’s not really meant to be done at a garden party, but I was only going to have one chance of meeting the Queen and I was going to give it my all. I bought them at the tube station flower shop that morning and had them in my handbag going through the gates.”
She added, “They did inform me that unfortunately she would not stop to accept them as it’s not protocol and if I’m lucky her lady-in-waiting might spot them and accept them on her behalf. I think they were very shocked when it happened!”
Even the security staff was amazed.
“The security staff congratulated me and said they were surprised she stopped and accepted the flowers,” Laura-Ann says. “They said that had not happened ever before.”
Laura-Ann knew from previously meeting Kate Middleton — where the royal mom revealed that she called 4-year-old Princess Charlotte by the nickname “Lottie” — and Meghan Markle that flowers were a sure way to grab the royals’ attention. Plus, she and her mother picked their spot strategically.
“We were one of the first people through the gates, and so had our tea and cakes straight away and went straight to the entrance of the royal tea tent, knowing she would walk this way,” says Laura-Ann. “While everyone was sheltering form the rain in the normal tea tents, mum and I stood for over an hour at the entrance of the royal tent with our umbrellas up patiently waiting hopeful we would have the best chance of seeing her up close and possibly meeting her.”
She adds, “There were 8,000 people there, and I honestly couldn’t believe my luck. I was just in the perfect place at the right time.”
“[They] were very beautiful and made eye contact and smiled to say hello,” she shares. “They seem like really lovely girls!”
Garden parties have been held at Buckingham Palace since the 1860s as a way to recognize and reward public service.
According to the palace, around 27,000 cups of tea are served and 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake are consumed during the event.
The final garden party of the year, taking place at Holyroodhouse in Scotland, will occur on July 3.