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Detail showing Queen Victoria drinking tea at a Buckingham Palace Garden party

Serving and sipping a favourite beverage

Herbert Johnson (1848-1906)

The Diamond Jubilee: the Queen taking tea in her tent at the Garden Party, 28 June 1897 dated 28 Jul 1897

RCIN 920900

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The first royal garden party took place in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. She held a second garden party for her Diamond Jubilee in 1897, and this drawing depicts the queen on that occasion taking tea in her tent, with the Princess of Wales behind her and the Prince of Wales to her right. She wrote in her diary for that day that she 'drove about amongst my guests, to many of whom I spoke…[and then] had tea in the tent'. 

Today, approximately 8,000 people attend each of the three garden parties held at Buckingham Palace every year. Some 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake are served at each event.