A Garden Party – The Queen’s Jubilee

I went to a garden party….in honor of the Queen’s 70th Jubilee on Jun 4.  Canada is a commonwealth country, so I grew up singing God Save the Queen in grade school, along with our national anthem, Oh Canada.  One of my very first memories is of the Queen’s visit to my city in 1959, although as a wee tyke of three I wouldn’t have had any idea of who she was, but I do vaguely remember standing on the riverbank near the church watching the Royal Yacht glide by.  All I knew was an important person was onboard, so we had to wait…and wave.

The Guest of Honour

So when I read that the city was throwing a garden party in honour of the queen’s 70th anniversary on the throne, I went straight to the website to sign-up…..but the registration was already full, as the event was limited to only two hundred people.  So I spoke to a very nice lady at city hall who put us on the waiting list, whereby I happened to mention that my mother at 96 was the exact same age as the Queen.  (I’m not without my devious ways.)  A few days later an invitation arrived via email – Hear Ye, Hear Ye – you have been added to the Queen’s guest list.  Attendees were encouraged to dress up and wear a hat, including vintage 50’s styles from the era of the Queen’s visit.

Attendance was limited at this exclusive event as they wanted to model it after the Queen’s own garden parties. She holds three every year on the grounds of Buckingham Palace and one in Scotland – a tradition dating back to the time of Queen Victoria in the 1860’s.  The parties are by invitation only and fancy dress is required.  Tea, scones and cake are served to about 10,000 people.  It’s a way for the Queen to recognize and reward public service, and a chance for her to mingle.  This year due to mobility issues, other members of the royal party filled in. Here’s a link to more information about the Queen’s annual Garden Party.  

The day of the party dawned warm and sunny, with a delightful breeze – one of those perfect June days you so seldom see anymore.  The venue was a public park with beautiful gardens (I posted about Plein Air Painting here in Sept. 2019 when the flowers were at their peak) and we walked through the arbour strung with hanging baskets to the registration desk.  

Pink is my favorite color for flowers

Chairs were set up under the large shade trees for the required speeches, with every stripe of politician represented – federal, provincial, municipal.  A pipe band opened the ceremonies.

And then to the food tent – we snagged a table in the shade.  The food was wonderful…..the traditional tea party fare.

The sandwiches – salmon, tuna, egg, cucumber – were all excellent.  I tried my first cucumber sandwich – where else can you find a cucumber sandwich but at a tea party!  And scones of course, and all kinds of dessert squares, and cookies, including these special Union Jack ones.

These individually wrapped souvenirs were sugar cookies with royal icing – almost too pretty to eat, but I managed.

There were macrons in red, white and blue.  I’m always disappointed by macrons, as they look better than they taste, and aren’t they French?

There was tons of food left-over, as witnessed by the trays of sandwiches behind the tables, so I hope the food bank benefited. 

There was no cost for the tickets as the event was paid for by a heritage grant, but I wonder if some of the people who RSVP’d forgot to show up, or changed their minds, although there did seem to be a good crowd there, including a few people who were walking through the park and asked if they could join in.   

The table décor was lovely, and a few lucky souls got to take the centrepieces home.

I really liked these royal blue satin tablecloths.

There were flags,

and tents.  Nothing says fancy summer party like a white tent.

Ladies Who Lunch in Hats

It was fun to check out people’s outfits, and their hats.

Vintage Laura Ashley (British Designer)

I wore a floral yellow dress from the 80’s, and got several comments on it, but sensibly wore flat sandals, although I did see a few people tottering around on impossibly high heels, sinking into the grass.  I’m too old for that and too afraid I’ll fall over and break something. I needed the sweater because it was cool enough in the shade, and also to cover my arms, as I don’t do sleeveless anymore. It felt strange to wear a dress again, for the first time in five years. I wasn’t too happy with my hat, an old straw relic also from the 80’s, but didn’t have time to look for anything else. Plus, I think those fascinators are silly things on most people.

A vintage clutch purse which closes with a satisfying click, like all 50’s style purses do, including the Queen’s. She has over 200 of her iconic brand, in many colors. It’s rumored that she sends secret signals to her staff with her purse, shifting it’s location to indicate that she wishes to be rescued from a conversation or wants a dinner to wrap up.

My mother’s pearls

And pearls of course, there were lots of pearls in evidence.

After lunch, there was an enactment of the Queen’s life put on by a local theatre group, with various members representing the queen at different stages in her career.  No matter what people might think of the monarchy, there’s no denying the Queen has lived a long life of dignified service, not to mention surviving all those family scandals. She must be a woman of fortitude, strength and resilience.

Afterwards, we wandered through the garden pathways admiring the baskets, although the flower beds themselves were just newly planted. 

All in all, it was a beautiful day and a wonderful party.  Long live the Queen!

32 thoughts on “A Garden Party – The Queen’s Jubilee

    • Joni says:

      Thanks Anne! It was nice to get out and about after a winter of being cooped up. Trying to take advantage of things before the next big Covid wave.


  1. Savoring Sixty and Beyond says:

    Oh my goodness!!! What a special treat to have experienced such a day! I am so happy you got to attend! I think the Queen is a remarkable woman and has remained faithful and steadfast to her country since receiving the crown. Thanks for sharing your day!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. annieasksyou says:

    Ih, Joni—What a delightful guided tour this is! So glad you were able to (cleverly but fairly, I believe) wrangle your way in. Loved the anecdote about the Queen’s shifting her pocketbook to signal when she needs help. And loved the photos.

    I share your feelings about her and find your description apt: a remarkable woman, indeed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joni says:

      I don’t understand why people rave about macrons, I guess they look better than they taste. When I first tried one at a fancy bakery it was $2.50 for one cookie – it was turquoise, and pretty but I thought it highly over-rated. One of my friends commented that the food at the party was better than some weddings she had attended. I’m sure the catering company spared no expense, as the city was paying, via the government grant.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. www.rosesintherainmemoir.wordpress.com says:

    Thank you, Joni, for inviting this “Colonial” along to Her Majesty’s tea party! I enjoyed every moment through your delightful storytelling. Like you, I declined to sample a macaroon but did indulge in a cucumber sandwich or two. Did you know that it’s a traditional old Southern delicacy? Inherited from the English, of course. Now, just what is a “fascinator,” pray tell?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Thanks Jo, I didn’t know that. The cucumber sandwich was a thin piece of cucumber with a verythin piece of tomato, but one of my friends said there is often a bit of cream cheese on them? A fascinator is a clip-on hair thingy like what the royals wear. Here’s a link to an article and a picture of Kate Middleton. It’s too small to be a hat, but too big to be a hair ornament. I think the British phrase/style “fascinator” has only been popular the past ten years or so. I much prefer a stylish hat with a brim. I don’t mind a classic small black cocktail style hat with a big of veil though, or some of the 50’s styles. But the fascinators to me just look silly, and are often in colors to match the outfit.


  4. Dave says:

    Now I want to watch “The Crown” again (especially the early seasons with Claire Foy 🙂 What a fitting tribute to the Queen, and the “flag tables” look so elegant. Did other cities in Canada hold similar celebrations? My daughter got married on the same weekend as the Queen’s Jubilee so I couldn’t help weaving that fact into my father-of-the-bride speech (“Britain may be celebrating their Queen but everyone in this room is celebrating my Princess.”). My parents were fortunate enough to meet Queen Elizabeth several years ago in Williamsburg, Virginia, including pictures posed with her. I forgot what was being commemorated (America’s 225th, maybe) but I was impressed the Queen made the effort to be a part of the celebration.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      I never got into the Crown, not sure why.
      I tried watching the first few episodes but never got into it, although I heard it was good. My mother who loves the Queen didn’t watch it either. I disliked Prince Phillip. But then I stopped watching Victoria as I didn’t like Albert! That was a cute speech for your daughter. The Queens Jubilee was all over the Canadian news that weekend, but strangely they did not televise the concert, just the other festivities. I did not hear of any other cities putting on a garden party – I think mine just did because they had applied for the heritage grant. Although I enjoyed the exclusive event, part of me thinks they should have just thrown it open to anyone who wanted to attend, and just served cake like they do in a larger park for Canada Day celebrations with the fireworks. I posted a bit about it on Facebook, where I seldom ever post, and got quite a few comments from people who either wished they had known about it or knew and wished they could have gone. The only notice I saw as a very small article in our community weekly newspaper, not the regular daily paper. They also had a 50’s dance/dinner that night put on by the Legion, which I thought would have been fun to go to as you were to dress in 50’s vintage and it was 50’s music, and at $40 the tickets were a bargain and the Legion always puts on a nice meal, but I couldn’t do both, so I choose the afternoon party. Plus the dinner was inside, and I wasn’t quite ready for indoor dining, although our Covid stats are certainly way down now.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Linda Schaub says:

    What a fun event Joni and I like the “devious you” getting the invites for you and your mom simply because Mom was the same age as the Queen. (Same age as my mom would have been as you know.) I like your outfit too – perfect for this tea party and I wouldn’t have wanted a fascinator either – I don’t see how some of them stay on their heads or clear doorways with the ridiculous feathers. You have had two recent events, a nice and fun way to get back in the swing of things. Did you see the Paddington Bear video with the Queen celebrating her 70 years on the throne. I thought it was clever and cute, not just because I am a bear collector.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Yes, I did see the video….it was cute, but I think I liked the James Bond one she did for her 60th better. It was nice to get out, this one was outside so safer, but I still brought my mask although I didn’t always wear it. I only saw two other ladies with masks. Our numbers are still low here. The theatre tickets I bought back in Feb. when I thought summer would be safer, but is the only indoor event I’ve been to with a larger crowd. I’m unsure whether to get tickets to another musical in Sept. as who knows what it will be like then, but will try for early Sept. as the play is on the whole month. I still haven’t eaten in a restaurant and don’t intend to, unless it’s a patio, and then it’s either too hot or too cold! Today looks nice though, 70 and cooler but sunny, grass needs watering as no rain in sight again. I’m going to wear DEET this time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I just looked at the James Bond – very clever. Our numbers are creeping up and I keep hearing stories about this new variant being the worst of all the variants. We have two Monkey Pox cases in Michigan, one in Detroit. I have not been in a restaurant since before my Mom passed away Must be a world record!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Eilene Lyon says:

    How clever of you to score an invite! I recall my own Laura Ashley dress (long ago donated and NO way I’d fit in it now).

    A member of my book club brought some leftovers from a tea party to our last meeting, so I had my first ever cucumber sandwich (no tomato, with cream cheese). Never been to a tea party myself. Lucky you! Sounds like a delightful occasion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joni says:

      Thanks Eilene….I have a whole vintage closet which I keep as a always intend to sell someday online but never get around to. I have a whole collection of April Cornell floral sundresses too, which a friend offered to make into a quilt for me, but the materials are so lovely I can’t part with them. My weight has been the same my whole life, give or take 5 pounds – genetics I’m basically an Irish leprechaun, now on a low fat diet due to borderline cholesterol hence no baking.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. J P says:

    That sounds like a lovely way to spend a day. I may be a Yank, but I have a sincere admiration for the Queen and the way she continues to represent England with maximum dignity.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Bernie says:

    What a wonderful celebration. I suspect you must live in Ottawa? Loved the photos and your outift! Sandals were definitely the right choice. As to the Queen she definitely has work ethic and duty in her fiber. Also the same age as my mom!

    Liked by 1 person

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