I recently had the wonderful honour of attending the Queens Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.
So many people have asked me ‘how does one get to be invited to such a prestigious event?’
It’s a simple yet wonderful story of friendship and how an instant understanding of how beliefs and ideas can sometimes gel when you meet someone for the first time.
A while ago, I invited the Lebanese journalist and actress Lena Kay to be a speaker at an event I organised with the kindness of Lord Eames at the House of Lords for International Women’s day. Prior to the event, we sat together in a Lebanese restaurant enjoying the wonderfully similar cuisine of my grandmother’s recipes when she lived in Lebanon many years ago.
We discussed the agenda and my vision of the event and we shared many ideas about possible collaboration in the future. It was a really joyful evening and it was clear that a great working relationship and even a potential friendship was in the making.
As I reflected on that evening, I thought how lovely it is that in London things like that can happen and how different cultures can come together with such positive harmony. I then got a WhatsApp message from Lena the following day asking me if I wanted to come to the Royal Garden Party as her guest and I of course replied with a resounding YES!
Posing for the camera at the Hilton London Kensington Hotel
Photos by Daniel Balica
Off to the Palace wearing the most comfortable wedges by Pons Quintana
Searching for the end of the queue, but every moment was a joy!
Leading up to the special day, I had to decide what to wear.
My love of vintage clothes took me to Camden Town and Notting Hill and then on to the Sunday vintage fair in Hammersmith, where I often find unique dresses for my performances.
The world is so small and I was so lucky to end up speaking to a wonderful lady about the Palace Garden Party and what I should wear and some of the rules and guidelines that I should follow.
She spoke with authority as she was herself in those parties and events and she even showed me the dress and hat she wore to the last garden party.
I loved the dress and fascinator immediately and bought it.
Though it was beautiful, I knew I could work with my dressmaker and with some changes, I could make it even more special and uniquely mine!
The joy of seeing so many beautiful dresses and hats on that day is a treat for someone who loves fashion.
Beautiful pastel colours and flowers dominated the afternoon and interestingly many people were wearing dresses from the collection of the talented Ted Baker.
Everyone looked wonderful.
Suprise, suprise it rained on the day and one tip that I would share with you is not to wear high heals on wet grass.
I’m so pleased I chose wedges and they were not only great on the grass but so comfortable for the hours of standing required.
If you have the privilege of being invited to the Garden Party, can I suggest that you turn up early as it takes so long to get in and then to stand in various queues for delicious cakes and canapés. You can imagine how everyone wants to see the Queen, which involves yet more queuing and standing about in the hope of talking to Her Majesty.
The personalised invitations offered helpful tips regarding protocols such as not taking photographs and not bringing in our mobiles, though some people flouted these instructions and those that did, were promptly reprimanded by security personnel.
I was shocked by the sheer volume of guests which can range from four to eight thousand, so if you are invited, do plan ahead as much as you can and don’t leave anything to the last moment.
Also, don’t underestimate the time it takes to move around the stunning grounds and then you can really enjoy the once in a lifetime Buckingham Palace experience .
The best Vanilla Ice Cream in the World by Marshfield Farm
From Top to Toe
Handmade fascinator, Jacket, Dress – http://www.vintagevalentina.net, Hair by Anna Hannon -Supercut, Earings – Sally Greville-Smith and Vintage bag – Hammersith Vintage Fair, Chanel neckless.
Dressmaker – Bozena Wnorowska
Wedges – Pons Quintana.
Makeup : Eyeshadow – Diorshow Mono 616 Pulse, Mascara – Diorshow Black, Lipstick -Chanel – 90 Pimpante, Eyeliner – Long-wear Gel – Bobbi Brown, Foundation – Mac Studio Tech and Sunbasque Blush, Primer Hourglass – Mineral Primer, Secret Brightening powder- Laura Mercier, Eye Base Essentials – Linen Trish Mcevoy, Eyelashes – Salonsystem, Nails polish- Essie Limo-Scene.