Garden parties have been held at Buckingham Palace since the 1860s as a way to recognize and reward public service

By Simon Perry and Stephanie Petit
May 21, 2019 02:47 PM

Even the Queen can’t control the weather.

Luckily, the skies were clear on Tuesday as Queen Elizabeth hosted a garden party at Buckingham Palace. The 93-year-old monarch even wore sunglasses (a rare look for her!) and carried an umbrella in case she was in need of some quick shade.

The Queen was delighted by the good spring weather, telling Victoria English, a 50-year-old teacher from Wales, “Well, you do rather hope the sun shines as when you invite 8,000 people to have tea on your lawn. It can be a bit of a worry.”

Queen Elizabeth stuck to her signature colorful look for the event. The monarch wore a pastel blue coat over a floral patterned dress complemented by a wide-brimmed hat with flower details by milliner Rachel Trevor Morgan.

Kate Middleton coordinated with her grandmother-in-law, stepping out in a light pink coat dress by Alexander McQueen (her wedding dress designer!) paired with a matching fascinator by Juliette Botterill. She completed her look with a tribute to Princess Diana, wearing the late royal’s pearl earrings.

Kate Middleton and Prince William

Garden parties have been held at Buckingham Palace since the 1860s as a way to recognize and reward public service.

During Tuesday’s event, the Queen spoke with dance teacher Retha Girish, 48, about traditional Indian dance. “She was telling me how much she admired it, how graceful it was and how she loved the colors and the hand movements,” Girish shared.

The monarch also mingled with artist Yinka Shonibare, who recently received a CBE for services to art.

Queen Elizabeth

Kate, 37, and William, 36, also chatted with guest, including an animated conversation with Jonathan Jenkins and Lindsey Dixon from London’s Air Ambulance.

When Dixon congratulated Kate on her garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, which Kate showed to the Queen on Monday evening, the royal mom stayed humble.

“Oh no, it was a real family affair. I couldn’t have done it without William and the children,” she said. “We were all very involved.”

Kate Middleton and Prince William
Kate Middleton and Prince William
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Each year, Queen Elizabeth hosts up to three garden parties on the grounds of Buckingham Palace, as well as one at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Scotland.

But for her first party of the season on May 15, the Queen asked son Prince Charles to step in as host – with wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and sister Princess Anne also in attendance. The monarch has been slowly handing over certain royal duties to senior members of the royal family over the past few years. She’s given several of her patronages to Prince William, Prince Harry and Kate, and Charles has begun attending many events in place of his mother. He hosted over 500 engagements in 2018 — more than William and Harry combined.