By RSMI Douglas Craddock, County Regimental Sergeant Major Instructor
When Greater Manchester ACF was awarded The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service last summer, we were also awarded two tickets to a Royal Garden Party. On Tuesday 9 May 23, Lt Col Royle and RSMI Craddock attended The King's Garden Party held in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, representing the Officers' Mess and WOs' & Sergeants' Mess respectively.
Staying at Wellington Barracks the evening before, which is the home of the Foot Guards Battalions on public duty within the area. The various Guards units usually occupy the Barracks.
The weather was slightly overcast on the day but dry. The journey to the Palace started with a short walk from Wellington Barracks. On arrival at Buckingham Palace we entered through one of the side gates where we were greeted by a Military Band playing various tunes. We were directed into the garden where we were met by throngs of people from various organisations and volunteer groups.
A large tea tent had been erected where they served various sandwiches, cakes, and drinks.
Around 4:00pm the National Anthem was played to announce the arrival of The Prince and Princess of Wales, Prince William and Princess Kate, who made their way through the crowds of people greeting them as they went along. (I was unable to get near them to get any pictures)
As we strolled around, we met Padre Reverend Hugh Bearn, who is Chaplain to The King.
The Royal party departed around 5:30pm just as the weather started to change and very soon afterwards around 6:00pm everyone else started to depart just as the rain started.
Overall, a great afternoon and enjoyed by the many hundreds of people who attended.
For pictures of the day please click here