Queen turns her back garden over to the Coronation Festival

The Coronation Festival
 

Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice sample beer at the Coronation Festival in the gardens of Buckingham Palace on July 11. Photo source: The British Monarchy. Photo © Press Association.

Note: The article below is from the Guardian.


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Queen turns her generous back garden over to the Coronation Festival” was written by Caroline Davies, for The Guardian on Thursday 11th July 2013 18.56 UTC

For those wishing to shop like royalty there was only one place to be on Thursday. The Queen turned her generous back garden over to the Coronation festival, an upmarket trade show for those whose services to royalty have been rewarded by a coveted royal warrant bearing the words: “By appointment to …”

Pavilions and marquees featuring more than 200 brands took over the lawns of Buckingham Palace, with the monarch hopping aboard a stately golf buggy to tour some of the stands.

Alongside Jermyn Street tailors, and the jewellers, chocolatiers and fine wine merchants, exhibitors included the makers of Prince Charles’s swimming pool, suppliers of the bedding for the royal stables, and even the pest controllers who keep the vermin of the palace and castles in check.

The four-day festival – the first commercial event to be held inside the palace grounds – is staged by the Royal Warrant Holders Association and comes at a price, unlike other public events at the palace. Tickets cost £30 for a day, and £90 for an evening gala featuring British musicians including classical singer Katherine Jenkins. It is a sellout, with more than 60,000 visitors expected, including overseas buyers.

The Queen, the Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, began their tour at the freshly spruced-up octagonal summerhouse, right next to four portable toilets, where for reasons best known to the organisers it had been decided that dignitaries should meet and greet the VIPs.

Inside the summerhouse, the three toured an exhibition of crafts sponsored by the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST), including a £36,000 walnut table. Clearly, corgis were going to feature and at the door an inquisitive-looking willow corgi, priced £600 and called Jamie, caught Her Majesty’s eye. “A little guard dog to protect you,” joked QEST chairman Nick Farrow. “Oh, yes,” the Queen laughed. Camilla was equally taken: “Oh, look. That’s charming,” she said, drawing Charles’s attention away from the £6,350 copy of a Venetian cello he was studying.

Jessica Fitch, seven, who was with her parents, Michael and Heather, had brought Bertie the bear mascot from her local Cheltenham Brownies group in the hope of getting a photograph of it with the monarch. She could not believe her luck when the Queen stopped and happily posed. In a double whammy, Jessica also succeeded in thrusting Bertie on Prince Charles.

The earliest recorded royal warrant was granted by Henry II to the Weavers’ Company in 1155, but the festival demonstrated the breadth of services that now attract royal patronage. Exhibits included a “royal potting shed” – its contents familiar to Prince Charles’s 15 farm, estate and garden staff. An eco-fantasy room entitled “the castle on the loch” was, apparently, inspired by Balmoral, though its sumptuousness belied the description of a draughty old house, threadbare in places, from those privileged to have been invited to the Queen’s Scottish abode.

There were textiles, soft furnishings, paints and wallpaper stands – though how often HM avails herself of these services is debatable. Her senior aides revealed recently that the state rooms at Buckingham Palace have never been redecorated during her long reign.

Cycling round the gardens with suitably sooty faces and traditional bahia brushes, the royal chimney sweeps, Kevin Giddings, 52, and his son Ben revealed that Buckingham Palace has close on 300 chimneys, though none of them is in use. The work is a little muckier over at Clarence House, confided Giddings Sr. “Prince Charles likes to keep things green so he’ll burn a bit of wood to save on the heating bills.”

The Queen seemed most impressed with a porcelain figure of her granddaughter Zara Phillips – who this week announced she was pregnant with her first child – riding her horse Toytown.

But a more imminent royal birth was consuming the press pack after a false rumour sparked on Twitter mid-afternoon that the Duchess of Cambridge had been admitted to hospital. Elsewhere, journalists are already camped outside St Mary’s hospital, west London, where the duchess is due to give birth.

Back at Buckingham Palace, Prince Charles was examining a range of commemorative Caverswall china designed to mark the arrival of the new prince or princess. “Ah, you’re doing that. Well, it won’t be long now,” he told Trevor Johnson of Caverswall.

Additional reporting: Haroon Siddique

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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