On Tuesday the 4th July I was delighted to attend the Royal Garden Party at Holyrood Palace. I had been nominated earlier in the year, in recognition of the education work that PKCT has done particularly the Tree for Every Child in Perthshire project and its links with the Queen’s Green Canopy.

PKCT's Discovery Learning and Engagement Officer, Catherine Leatherland, and her guest, Marian Leatherland, attend the Royal Garden Party © Catherine Leatherland

Since receiving the exciting news I have been preparing for the event, along with my Grandma, who I had chosen as my guest. We were excited and looking forward to the celebrations as we donned our outfits and headed to join the queue to enter the palace gardens.

It wasn’t long before the heavens opened, and a sea of umbrellas popped up… including our own! I must at this point in the blog thank the kind lady behind me in the queue, who sheltered me on the way into the event as I pushed my Grandma’s wheelchair!

Waiting in the queue to enter the party © Catherine Leatherland

Once inside we headed for the tea tent and were faced with an amazing array of sweet and savoury treats! We each picked our own selection and enjoyed them while soaking in the occasion rather than soaking in the rain.

Approaching 4pm we headed over to the steps of the palace, where we knew the King and members of the Royal Party would enter the party. It was wonderful to see this moment, and to hear the national anthem play in the grounds. After this, the King and Queen went to meet a selection of guests, as did Princess Anne who chatted to people close by where we were standing. It was so lovely to see everyone taking the time to chat about the work that they do – the heavy rain certainly didn’t dampen the spirits.

Princess Anne greets guests © Catherine Leatherland

When the rain was particularly heavy it gave us the perfect excuse to head to the tents – which is exactly what we did once the Royal Party had made their way to the Royal Tea Tent. We also had another cup of tea and a cake or two...maybe three.

A selection of treats in the tea tent © Catherine Leatherland

It became clear that the rain was not going to stop, so we just explored the grounds anyway and decided to get wet! The flowers were so beautiful, and it was lovely to listen to the band close up. We stood next to the Royal Company of Archers as the Royal Party made their way back inside the palace.

The Royal Company of Archers in front of the palace © Catherine Leatherland

As we listened to the band, I suddenly noticed a kind waitress with a tray full of ice cream. There is something amazingly British about stoically and cheerfully serving ice cream during heavy rain and I was all for it! I took the last two pots of strawberry ice cream for me and my Grandma, and we enjoyed them as we made our way home.

One of the bands playing as guests explore the garden © Catherine Leatherland

The whole occasion was a wonderful and special celebration, of the coronation but also of everyone’s work for their communities. I was struck by the kind and fun atmosphere – which was not dampened (except in the literal sense) by the relentless rain! We enjoyed chatting to fellow guests throughout the afternoon and people helped us several times with my Grandma’s wheelchair – which was very kind and much appreciated.

For me, it was extra special to share this with my Grandma and particularly in recognition of the education work that we have completed at PKCT in recent years. I felt proud to represent this work, and the wider work of PKCT, by attending such a special Royal event.