Why Prince Charles Is Hosting the First Palace Garden Party of the Season Instead of the Queen
It’s party time at the palace!
But for her first party of the season, the Queen asked son Prince Charles to step in as host. The monarch, 93, has been slowly handing over certain royal duties to senior members of the royal family over the past few years. She’s given several of her patronages to Prince William, Prince Harry and Kate Middleton, and Charles has begun attending many events in place of his mother. He hosted over 500 engagements in 2018 — more than William and Harry combined.
The Queen has kept up a busy schedule this season, too. She attended the Royal Windsor Horse Show over the weekend and will attend the RHS Chelsea Flower Show next week. She also held a very special meet-and-greet with her newest great-grandson: Archie!
The Queen welcomed new parents Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and Meghan’s mom Doria Ragland to Windsor Castle last week, where the couple introduced their baby boy to the world for the first time. Prince Philip, who has retired from royal duty, was also there for the occasion.
Prince Charles was joined by wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and sister Princess Anne for the Wednesday afternoon gathering.
Garden parties have been held at Buckingham Palace since the 1860s as a way to recognize and reward public service.
According to the palace, around 27,000 cups of tea are served and 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake are consumed during the event.
- Can’t get enough of PEOPLE’s Royals coverage? Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!
Guests also adhere to a dress code. Gentlemen wear morning dress or lounge suits, while women wear day dresses, typically accessorized with hats or fascinators.
The next palace garden party will take place on May 21, followed by another on May 29. The Holyroodhouse party will occur on July 3.