Last week, Trinity Occupational Therapist Barbara and Community Nurse Specialist Juliette attended Buckingham Palace for one of its famous summer Garden Parties. Hear more from Barbara below...

A few months ago Juliette and I were told we’d been selected as the two longest serving members of the community team to represent Trinity at the Royal Garden Party on the 5th June.

Eventually, following security checks we received our invitations and then started the search for the perfect outfit (with hat) and an anxious eye on the weather forecast. As we arrived at Victoria Station there were an increasing number of ladies in hats and on our short walk to the Palace we had tourists take our photos and ask what was happening. The day had dawned drizzly but as we arrived outside Buckingham Palace the sun shone through.

Meeting the Duchess of Cornwall

We took our place in the queue outside the front gates with the 8000 other guests at which point Juliette produced a letter inviting us to be presented to the Duchess of Cornwall. We passed through the front gates, across the forecourt and quadrangle and through the palace rooms to the garden. There was just time to grab a glass of water and listen to the band before meeting the equerry who briefed all those selected for presentation to the Duchess (all from organisations of which she is the Royal Patron).

The Yeomen processed through the grounds forming ‘lanes’ for each member of the Royal party to walk through. At 4pm the national anthem was played and Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Anne, the Duke & Duchess of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent arrived. They spent a long time talking to the guests and when it was our turn to be presented, we curtsied, shook hands and exchanged a few words. The Duchess promised she’d return soon to visit the hospice. Afterwards, it was time to go for tea. We filled our plate with sandwiches and dainty cakes, a nice cup of tea and then an ice cream.

We then had time to explore, Juliette chose to take a seat in the shade and watch the guests, and I chose to walk around the gardens enjoying the lake, sculptures and plants. At the end of the afternoon we made our way back towards the front entrance taking more photos as we departed and savoured the experience of being on the inside of those famous railings.

Definitely a ‘once in a life-time’ experience!"