Kate Middleton and Sophie Wessex represent the Queen at Buckingham Palace garden party


The Duchess of Cambridge looked elegant in a coral coat dress as she joined Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex to host a garden party at Buckingham Palace. 

The trio stood in for the Queen, 96, who traditionally oversees four garden parties each summer but has bowed out of this year’s engagements amid ongoing mobility issues. 

The annual garden parties, which are held between Buckingham Palace and Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, are a way for the monarch to celebrate and reward those who have distinguished themselves in public service. They require the royal hosts to spend more than an hour on their feet as they make their way through the crowd. 

The Queen, who will celebrate her Platinum Jubilee next month, is increasingly relying on senior royals including Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince William to stand in her stead at high profile engagements.

Yesterday the Queen was joined by Prince Edward as she made a surprise appearance at the opening of the Elizabeth Line at Paddington Station, a week after she missed the State Opening of Parliament. 

Looking every inch the future queen consort, Kate, 40, beamed as she made her way through the crowd of people on the lawn of Buckingham Palace this afternoon, stopping to chat to some of the invited guests. 

 

Kate at the Buckingham Palace Garden Party today

Coral queen! The Duchess of Cambridge opted for a coral version of an Emilia Wickstead coat dress she has worn on a number of previous occasions

Meet the Duchess! Kate spent time speaking to guests at the garden party, which recocognises those who have distinguished themselves in public service

Meet the Duchess! Kate spent time speaking to guests at the garden party, which recocognises those who have distinguished themselves in public service

Prince Edward, left, and the Countess of Wessex were on hand to meet hundreds of guests in the Buckingham Palace garden

The Countess of Wessex at the Garden Party

Prince Edward, left, and the Countess of Wessex were on hand to meet hundreds of guests in the Buckingham Palace garden

Pink perfection! Displaying her love of colour blocking, Kate wore her coral coat dress with a hat in the same shade

The Duchess of Cambridge today

Pink perfection! Displaying her love of colour blocking, Kate wore her coral coat dress with a hat in the same shade

The Duchess of Cambridge looked resplendent as she joined Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex at the second Buckingham Palace garden party of the summer

The Duchess of Cambridge looked resplendent as she joined Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex at the second Buckingham Palace garden party of the summer

The Duchess of Cambridge delighted one young royal fan by stopping to pose for a photograph at the garden party

Kate Middleton posed with her arm around one young fan

The Duchess of Cambridge delighted one young royal fan by stopping to pose for a photograph at the garden party

The Duchess of Cambridge took a leaf out of the Queen's book and chose a colour that would be easy for people to spot

The Duchess of Cambridge took a leaf out of the Queen’s book and chose a colour that would be easy for people to spot

The Duchess of Cambridge stood out from the crowd in her vibrant coral ensemble as she cut across the grass

The Duchess of Cambridge greeted one of the guests at the garden party

The Duchess of Cambridge stood out from the crowd in her vibrant coral ensemble as she cut across the grass

The Duchess of Cambridge spoke to a group of women and a young girl who brought a sign along to the party

The Duchess of Cambridge spoke to a group of women and a young girl who brought a sign along to the party

Radiant Kate beamed as she was introduced to some of the hundreds of guests invited to the Buckingham Palace party

The Duchess of Cambridge today

Radiant: Kate beamed as she was introduced to some of the hundreds of guests invited to the Buckingham Palace party

Centre of the action: Guests waited patiently for the opportunity to speak to the Duchess of Cambridge at the garden party

Centre of the action: Guests waited patiently for the opportunity to speak to the Duchess of Cambridge at the garden party

The Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex spent time meeting guests on the palace lawn this afternoon

Sophie Wessex speaking to guests today

The Duchess of Cambridge, left, and the Countess of Wessex spent time meeting guests on the palace lawn this afternoon

Following the Queen’s tip of dressing to stand out from the crowd, the Duchess opted for an Emilia Wickstead dress in an eye-catching shade of coral.

The flattering knee-length frock, which features long sleeves, a sharp collar and band at the waist, is a version of a sky blue design worn by the duchess on a number of previous occasions.

Kate, who is known for her love of colour-blocking, paired the piece with pink suede point toe pumps and added a hat in a matching shade. She finished the look with a beaded clutch bag that brought a touch of sparkle. 

Meanwhile Sophie, 57, who is one of the Queen’s most trusted confidantes, was typically elegant in a white dress with a pink and purple floral pattern. The Countess of Wessex teamed the midi with a white hat and simple neutral shoes. Her husband Prince Edward was dapper in a morning coat and top hat. 

The Queen was also represented by her cousin, Princess Alexandra, who stepped out in a soft shade of pink.

It is the first time the garden parties have been held since 2019 after they were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Royal welcome! Guests whipped out their phones to snap a photo of the Duchess as she made her way across the palace lawn

Royal welcome! Guests whipped out their phones to snap a photo of the Duchess as she made her way across the palace lawn 

Plenty to smile about! The Duchess of Cambridge looked animated as she spent time speaking to guests in the garden

The Duchess of Cambridge today

Plenty to smile about! The Duchess of Cambridge looked animated as she spent time speaking to guests in the garden

Prince Edward represented his mother at the Buckingham Palace garden party, a day after joining her at Paddington Station

Prince Edward represented his mother at the Buckingham Palace garden party, a day after joining her at Paddington Station

The Duchess of Cambridge opted a simple pair of drop earrings and wore her hair bulled back in a chignon

Kate at the Buckingham Palace garden party

The Duchess of Cambridge opted a simple pair of drop earrings and wore her hair bulled back in a chignon 

Light-hearted moment: Kate Middleton and Prince Edward shared a joke as they made their way down the steps to the garden

Light-hearted moment: Kate Middleton and Prince Edward shared a joke as they made their way down the steps to the garden

The Duchess of Cambridge smiled broadly as she made her way from the palace through the crowds on the lawn

The Duchess of Cambridge today

The Duchess of Cambridge smiled broadly as she made her way through the crowds on the sunny palace lawn

A royally good time! Every year, the Queen invites 30,000 people to attend the parties. At each Garden Party, around 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake are consumed. Pictured, guests at today's event

A royally good time! Every year, the Queen invites 30,000 people to attend the parties. At each Garden Party, around 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake are consumed. Pictured, guests at today’s event

Guests curtsied as they were introduced to the Duchess of Cambridge (right) during the walkabout at the party

The Duchess of Cambridge today

Guests curtsied as they were introduced to the Duchess of Cambridge (right) during the walkabout at the party 

Buckingham Palace released a statement last week revealing the Queen would not attend the annual events but did not offer an explanation. 

Speaking on the absence, royal expert Angela Levin said: ‘It’s a good decision for the Queen not to attend garden parties as there would be too much standing. What a shame though.’

The annual Buckingham Palace garden parties, started in the 1860s by Queen Victoria, are a way of recognising and rewarding public service and see people from all walks of life enjoy high tea on the lawn to the sounds of a military band.

Every year, the Queen invites 30,000 people to attend the parties. At each Garden Party, around 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake are consumed.

Pretty in pastel: The Queen was also represented by her cousin, Princess Alexandra, who stepped out in a soft shade of pink

Pretty in pastel: The Queen was also represented by her cousin, Princess Alexandra, who stepped out in a soft shade of pink

Princess Alexandra looked dignified in a pink ensemble and pearl jewellery as she made her way around the garden party

Princess Alexandra

Princess Alexandra looked dignified in a pink ensemble and pearl jewellery as she made her way around the garden party

Prince Edward, who has taken on an increasingly high profile role within the Royal Family, stepped up to represent the Queen

Prince Edward, who has taken on an increasingly high profile role within the Royal Family, stepped up to represent the Queen 

For the occasion men are asked to wear morning dress or lounge suits while women are invited to wear a ‘day dress, usually with hats or fascinators’.

Three garden parties will be held at Buckingham Palace in May, followed by a party at Holyroodhouse in August. 

This year there was also a ‘Not Forgotten Association Annual Garden Party’ which took place on May 12 and was hosted by Princess Anne, who is patron of the charity.

The Not Forgotten Association provides entertainment, leisure and recreation for the serving wounded, injured or sick and for ex-service men and women with disabilities.

The Garden Party for the organisation, which will also be held at Buckingham Palace, will bring together more than 2,000 beneficiaries of all ages and from all services.

Meanwhile Prince William unveiled a new Submariners memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Stafford today

Meanwhile Prince William unveiled a new Submariners memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Stafford today 

Following the unveiling of a new Submariners memorial, William spoke to Diana Mayes, 100, who was widowed in 1943

Following the unveiling of a new Submariners memorial, William spoke to Diana Mayes, 100, who was widowed in 1943

William met the family of Ian Molyneux, the Royal Navy officer shot in the head aboard HMS Astute in April 2011

William met the family of Ian Molyneux, the Royal Navy officer shot in the head aboard HMS Astute in April 2011

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall laid handwritten notes as they honoured Canada's war dead during a poignant wreath laying ceremony today

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall laid handwritten notes as they honoured Canada’s war dead during a poignant wreath laying ceremony today

The couple stood before the imposing memorial, symbolising the sacrifice of all Canadian military in the cause of freedom in all conflicts, as a bugler played the last post and a period of silence observed

The couple stood before the imposing memorial, symbolising the sacrifice of all Canadian military in the cause of freedom in all conflicts, as a bugler played the last post and a period of silence observed

Charles and Camilla took part in the solemn event at the National War Memorial in the capital Ottawa on the second day of their whirlwind three-day tour marking the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Charles and Camilla took part in the solemn event at the National War Memorial in the capital Ottawa on the second day of their whirlwind three-day tour marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

It comes a day after Her Majesty's surprise appearance at the opening of the Elizabeth Line at Paddington Station, in London, pictured, following her absence from the State Opening of Parliament last week

It comes a day after Her Majesty’s surprise appearance at the opening of the Elizabeth Line at Paddington Station, in London, pictured, following her absence from the State Opening of Parliament last week

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