Yesterday Anne and I had tea with the Queen…along with around 8,000 other people. We had been invited to a
The invitation said that gates opened at but when we arrived there was a very long queue of people dressed in their best snaking down the road alongside the palace. We explained to a few passing American tourists what was happening and they were very interested how it was possible to get an invitation. I told them that I was representing the
We walked straight through the Palace and in to the garden at the back. The garden feels more like a park, with trees and shrubs and a small lake at the bottom of the garden that has a woodland feel to it. It is very much a spring garden with little in the way of summer flowers other than a rose garden in one corner and some flowering shrubs around a tennis court, again tucked well away from the palace itself. The crowd of guests gathered on the central lawn, either side of which were two long tea tents, one for the majority of guests, serving the obligatory cucumber sandwiches (without crusts of course) and another split between the foreign embassy guests and the royal party itself. Two military bands, sat either side of the lawned area taking it in turn to play.
At the Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, the Duchess of
It had stopped raining when Prince Philip approached me and noticed the silver cross around my neck. He asked me whether I was a missionary, and I explained that I was the Vice President of the Methodist Conference and I would pass the cross on to my successor next year. He asked me where the President was, which clearly demonstrated the point I made in my address to Conference about the handicap we give to the lay representative of the
At the royal party left and the crowds of guests slowly moved back through the palace and out in to the courtyard, again to the fascination of the viewing tourists. As we walked out we met a Methodist minister and his wife from the