‘Good weather for swimming’ as William welcomes guests to Palace garden party

Around 8,000 people were invited to one of the summer highlights of the royal calendar.

Tony Jones
Tuesday 21 May 2024 22:58 BST
The Prince of Wales uses an umbrella during the Sovereign’s Garden Party (Yui Mok/PA)
The Prince of Wales uses an umbrella during the Sovereign’s Garden Party (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

The Prince of Wales has braved torrential downpours at a Buckingham Palace garden party and quipped it was “good weather for swimming”.

William was greeted by a sea of umbrellas when he hosted the summer event for his father, with the weather leaving some guests drenched and others sheltering in the tea tents.

Around 8,000 people were invited to one of the summer highlights of the royal calendar, including William’s cousins, princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and Zara Tindall, with her husband Mike.

William left with a children’s book he pledged to read to Prince Louis at bedtime and a bag of freshly baked cookies from an RAF padre.

The prince, dressed in a top hat and morning suit, met Duchy of Cornwall tenant farmers Julie and Matthew Hall and let the husband and wife shelter under his umbrella.

Mrs Hall, from Bloomers Farm in north Dorset, said afterwards: “We’re farmers, we’re used to the rain, and when we left this morning Dorset was in sunshine. It’s all the seasons in one day sometimes.”

William met guests from a number of his patronages, Homewards, the homeless project he launched last year, and members of the military.

When the future king chatted to senior executives from Swim England, an organisation he supports as patron, he joked “good weather for swimming”.

The Tindalls spent much of their time chatting to members of the public waiting in the rain to catch a glimpse of the royals.

Budding author Rowan Aderyn, part of William’s Homewards team in Newport, Gwent, handed the prince a self-penned children’s book, named after the homeless project, about a boy called Jack who finds himself without a home.

Taking the book, which the author said was one of only 10 copies, William said: “This is great, so inspirational. I’ll read this to Louis tonight at bedtime.”

Squadron Leader Chrissie Lacey, a padre serving at RAF Coningsby near Lincoln, who is famed for getting up early to bake for the base, handed William a bag of cookies after he asked if she had woken up at 5am.

He said: “I promise you that wasn’t a fishing expedition but I will take them all the same, this is amazing.”

William also said that Prince George would love to visit the base as he is a “potential pilot in the making”.

The minister said later: “I like to share the love around the station, so I bake cookies for the personnel, and I go out and give them away. It’s part of my ministry and it gives them a chance to stop, to pause and have a breather and talk and feel valued and appreciated.

“I got up at 4.30am to bake them, some have gone on to the station to be given away and I kept some aside for him.”

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