I believe the little girl hiding inside all of us loves a tea party. As a child, I loved a tea party, I lived for the days when my sisters and I could play at a garden tea party, and being the oldest I always pretended I was the queen inviting my friends to tea.
As the oldest girl in a family of four daughters I often found myself in charge of organizing our activities and these tea parties were favorite summertime activities. Being Queen was fantastic! And a Queen’s garden party was always the height of fashion for me and my sisters.
To begin we’d get the backyard ready with a small table, tablecloth and my treasured tea set decorated with moss roses. I got the tea set from Santa one year and only shared it for the most special occasions. We’d pick some flowers from Mom’s garden for the table, making certain to arrange them in a pleasing style in one of Mom’s smaller vases. To serve my “guests” Mom always helped to make tiny tea sandwiches, lay-out a platter of fruit, and some type of homemade sweets, usually cookies. We’d brew a pot of tea that could stand up well to sugar and milk. Then we’d all dress for tea using clothes from the attic: Mom’s old dresses, hats, gloves and shoes. Oh, it was such a special occasion!
The tea party always began with welcoming introductions of the “Ladies” and their honored guests; usually a teddy bear or doll. My continual companion, “Lady Polly Dolly” was my favorite doll and always accompanied me to tea. My sister Dawn always brought Sir Smokey the Bear. The other girls brought different friends each time and always with a warm welcome. Although, there were times the queen lost her control and it turned into the mad hatter’s tea party but oh well, that’s the fun of childhood isn’t it? Spontaneity!
I don’t remember how long the garden tea parties lasted but I remember fondly the Queen directing the conversation, pouring tea, serving savories and sweets and generally feeling like a grown-up for a little while. Mom sometimes joined us but most of the time, she took the opportunity for a little quiet time away from the four of us running our mouths, asking unlimited questions, and needing her continual attention.
Unlike our intimate garden parties with only the four of us, the Queen of England invites thousands to her garden parties each year. To get on the list of invitees you must know an influential person or be someone of interest. The royal garden tea party is huge in scale with thousands of cups of tea, many many sandwiches and slices of cake, all under tents in the beautiful gardens of Buckingham Palace or her Palace of Holyroodhouse. These garden parties are an important way for the Queen to speak to a broad range of people from all walks of life who’ve made an impact in the community. The queen’s Garden Parties started during Queen Victoria’s reign.
Plan your own Queen’s tea party this summer. Invite a few friends to stop by on a day you know the weather will cooperate. Brew a wonderful pot of tea, get out your best tea cups and plan a few savories and sweets. It doesn’t take much to throw together a tea party in the garden. It can be as formal or relaxed as you’d like but it always feels fabulous and your guests will truly appreciate your hospitality.
This post is part of an A-2-Z Writing Challenge for the month of April where you write everyday except Sundays with the next letter of the alphabet.