Andy Robbins and his wife, got an invite to Buckingham Place as recognition of the work he has done in the Restorative justice community, see how Andy’s day unfolded below.
The Story Starts…..
So, there I am sitting in the office at myRJ HQ, planning out weeks works when the phone starts “pinging”, with messages from my wife, asking what I have done wrong as there appears to be a letter from the Palace. I think I may know what it is, and sure enough we had been fortunate enough to receive an invite to King’s Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.
My thoughts immediately turned to ‘how much is this going to cost’?
Top-up Oyster card….NOPE forget that taxi only!
Premier Inn…you get the idea…..
But why me?
To cut a long story short, I’ve been working in field of Restorative Justice for over 20 years, public service as a Justice of the Peace and services to the local community, being the co-founder of IVSTITIA has given me a great insight to how RJ differs across the globe and I think has put me the company in a very fortunate position being able to share best practise and stories.
Taking on the task of setting up the first dedicated Secure RJ Case Management System to allow greater sharing of information, instant reporting and emphasising the importance of cyber security in the wider criminal justice network has been such an amazing experience and to be recognised for this was a real highlight.
Of we go!
So off we set to attend on a lovely sunny day. We arrive in London in good time to check into our hotel, get dressed into our outfits for the day. We left in good time to arrive at the palace for about 3.15pm and on arrival we joined the queue with other attendees. We spent about 15 minutes in the queue, then we were into the main gate after the first security check had taken place. You get to walk past ‘THE BALCONY’ and around the side of the palace and through the rear part of the Palace and on into the garden.
The garden is laid out with 1 long marquee and 2 military band areas and the Royal tea tent (for invited guests only) along with numerous tables and chairs dotted around the grassed area. It is a very, very big garden. At approximately 3.55pm the Royal party arrived headed by The Prince and Princess of Wales, with various family members including The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, Princess Royal and members.
The event then starts with the National Anthem. This year it was followed by cake and sandwich queue where we selected from such as an ice coffee or tea, sandwiches cut into soldiers with no crusts, made of various fillings including Egg Mayo, Smoked Salmon, Gammon Ham to name but a few and many various other nibbles along with a selection of very small but exceedingly tasty cakes which included Dundee cake, Victoria sponge, Strawberry tart all served on the smallest plate in the world, I kid you not. But all very pleasant, nevertheless.
After this wonderful plate it’s time to leave the marquee and explore the gardens. The gardens and the lake at Buckingham Palace are huge and it took around an hour to walk round soaking up the atmosphere of the day and to be fair, mainly people watching and having the occasional laugh at the ladies sinking their heels in the grass. The afternoon finishes off once again with the National Anthem and as the Royal Party retires, the guests then start to leave. It is quite amusing how the guests become a tourist attraction themselves as on the way in and out there are many people photographing us.
Queens Garden Party
The history bit now, the Queens Garden Party albeit originally a breakfast party, primarily for debutants and the likes started in the 1860s by Queen Victoria and took place twice a year but by the mid 1950s there were now 3 a year and took the form of an afternoon tea party between the hours of 4 till 6 pm and along with the Royals there also present are the Yeoman of the Guard, Gentleman at Arms and Gentleman Ushers. At the garden party, you will see and meet many members of the public and service personnel from around the Commonwealth, there is also numerous attendees from across all religious divides, classes and race. With people attending in National costume, or Service personnel in uniform, lounge suits or morning suits. With the ladies in a variety of outfits and hats.
It is an event to be part of and savoured. Both my wife and I feel privileged to have received an invite and to be able to attend an event that is part of British history.