Months in the planning, the Mall in St. James's Park was transformed for its largest ever street party to celebrate the Queen's patronage of more than 600 charities and organisations. The lunch for 10,000 guests is the first of its kind to be held in The Mall.
For those familiar with 'British summertime', you'll know the weather can be unpredictable...
This morning The Mall turned into a sea of ponchos as guests tried to shelter themselves from the rain.
It couldn't, however, deter the atmosphere.
Even the Palace shared a humorous tweet: "Long to rain over us. Great to see the weather hasn't dampened spirits."
Thankfully conditions cleared up before the royals arrived and the hampers were opened.
William, Kate and Harry joined other royals for a walkabout.
Kate told a member of the crowd about George's reaction to Trooping The Colour yesterday.
|Rebecca English Twitter Feed|
The Prince even gave his verdict on the dismal weather this morning :)
|Emily Nash Twitter Feed|
Kate chats with well-wishers.
Royal reporter Gordon Rayner noted Prince William was "literally shaking very single hand as he goes down The Mall".
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh arriving.
When The Queen spotted Princess Anne she shouted "Oh, you're still here". Anne replied "Of course!".
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie wore two well-known Kate brands. Beatrice was in a Saloni skirt and Eugenie in a very chic dress from Whistles. William, Kate and Harry followed the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in state review vehicles. During a speech, Prince William said "Thank you for showing that the Great British public doesn't let a little rain spoil a good day out". Speaking about The Queen: "Thank you Granny for everything you have done for your family. We could not wish you a happier birthday".
The Queen shared her humorous side "How I will feel if people are still singing Happy Birthday in December remains to be seen."
At the very heart of The Patron’s Lunch is "a desire to give the British and Commonwealth public the chance to not only honour and thank Her Majesty for her extraordinary commitment to others, but to also inspire communities the length and breadth of the nation to do the same". The not-for-profit event will also raise money for a newly created charitable fund – The Patron’s Fund - which will support the charitable organisations within the UK and across the Commonwealth.
Throughout events marking her reign and milestone birthday, the Queen's legacy has been discussed by the media and commentators at length. An integral part of that legacy is the unwavering support she has shown to patronages throughout her life. It's a wonderful opportunity for the charities to come together to mark the special occasion of her 90th birthday.
The Patron's Lunch website notes how many charities she took on from her family: "The Queen has over 600 patronages, a large number of which were inherited from her father, King George VI, on her Accession. The Queen is also Patron of the Mothers’ Union, a role which was first held by Queen Victoria in 1898. Further the Queen has inherited patronages from Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret." You can view the entire list of all 600 patronages here.
Members of the Queen's organisations made up a parade, led by musical groups and performers from the Royal Academy of Dance, the artistic showpiece told the story of all those causes over the past 63 years.
The royals watching the parade.
The Patron's Lunch is the brainchild of the Queen's eldest grandson Peter Phillips.
In an article for the Telegraph, he shared the importance of the day:
'From my early childhood – ever since I was causing havoc in the corridors of Windsor, Balmoral and Sandringham with my sister and cousins – it was impossible to ignore the standard my grandmother set when it came to her support of her patronages. For my whole family she has led by example, but never more so than in her dedication in this area. Over her reign, however, the Queen has gone about that work with quiet diligence and astonishing humility. So in this landmark year fo her, I thought it high time her lifetime’s unbroken service was acknowledged.'
As a child, I would attend charity events with my parents in school holidays, but as I’ve grown older the sheer number of causes of which the Queen is patron has become clear. So, too, has her commitment to every one of them – and that’s an extraordinary achievement. It may often go unnoticed, but almost every time the Queen appears in public it is in order to support one of these organisations in her role as patron.'
He also discussed his reason for wanting William and Harry involved:
'One reason that I wanted my cousins, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, to be joint presidents of the Patron’s Lunch is that very legacy. It is important that the Queen’s charity work is not confined to a single generation. In the future the Princes will take on many of these patronages, just as the Queen inherited a great many of them from her mother, father and sister. You only need to look at the success of the Prince of Wales’s major charitable enterprise, the Prince’s Trust, to see that Her Majesty’s ethos has been passed down – and long may that continue.'
The graphic below offers a glimpse into the scale of preparations for the day. 33,000 cups of tea, 19 BBC cameras, over 5,000 meters of bunting, and more than 10,000 lunch hampers, to name just a few items on the "lunch's checklist".
|The Patron's Lunch|
What's on them menu for the lunch?
The Queen's 90th birthday street party hamper for two includes:
- Scottish Smoked Salmon mousse with hot and cold Sandringham oak smoked Lochmuir salmon
- Pembrokeshire chicken roulade with Wye Valley asparagus and minted Cornish potato salad with pea shoots, creamy mayo and a herb drizzle
- 'Posh' raspberry royale - Norfolk Tulameen raspberries and a strawberry jelly, layered with sponge and clotted whipped cream hand decorated with a chocolate plaque
- Best of British sandwich selection: Roast Northern Irish beef with horseradish mayonnaise and baby watercress on soft white bread; Smoked Scottish Loch Etive trout with a dill dressing and watercress on soft wholemeal bread; Farmhouse mature Welsh cheddar with Kentish Claret tomatoes and Windsor apple chutney on soft malted brown bread; Applewood smoked Wiltshire ham with Tewkesbury mustard on soft white bread
- Mini piccalilli pork pie
- Two butterfly cakes - one light vanilla sponge cake with strawberry frosting and the other a lemon cake topped with lemon frosting
- Cornish Cove mature cheese and Red Leicester with Scottish seeded oatcakes
- Pressed Windsor apple juice
- Bottle of water
The Duchess chose the Marwood Colour-Block Wool-Crepe Dress by Roksanda for the day. The blue, coral and pastel-pink dress features zip fastening along the back and is cut for a close fit. It's a classically colourful Roksanda design and a fresh take on a silhouette the Duchess favours.
The zip on Kate's dress has been altered, I expect it may have been purchased off-the-rack and sent to a dressmaker rather than being a bespoke piece.
This close-up offers a detailed look at the colours.
Variations of the colours in Kate's dress feature in several garments in the designer's collection. Below, the Strapless Neon Wool-Crepe Dress, the Color-Block Crepe Dress, the Wool-Crepe Top and the Wool-Crepe Maxi Skirt.
Readers will recall Kate wore a yellow and white colour-block dress by the designer when the Cambridges touched down in Sydney.
Kate accessorised with her Mappin & Webb Empress earrings and pendant.
|Mappin & Webb|
The Duchess carried her L.K. Bennett Nina Clutch.
And completed the look with her L.K. Bennett Fern pumps.
Full coverage of the event is available here.
As Her Majesty's birthday celebrations draw to a close, it seems appropriate to share this quote from the then-Princess Elizabeth on her 21st birthday in 194: "I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong."
We'll see you tomorrow for Order of the Garter!