Every summer, The King hosts at least three garden parties at Buckingham Palace. Approximately 8,000 guests attend each one.
People from all walks of life are invited on the recommendation of a large number of national organisations.
The Lord-Lieutenants in each county, together with the government and organisations such as the Civil Service, Armed Services, Diplomatic Corps, charities and societies, are all invited to make nominations (individuals cannot apply for an invitation). This ensures that a representative cross-section of the community in Surrey – as in all other counties – is invited and that guests are generally people who have contributed a large amount to their various organisations or society in this county. It is rare for people to be invited more than once.
The King and Queen Consort, accompanied by other members of the Royal Family, enter the garden at 4.00 pm, when the National Anthem is played by a military band. Tea and other refreshments are served and guests are invited to walk around the extensive gardens.
Most people like to dress up for their special day. Gentlemen wear morning dress or lounge suits, while women wear afternoon dress, usually with hats or fascinators. National dress and uniform are also often worn.
View a video about Royal Garden Parties.
Privacy Notice of the Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey
For residents invited to be nominated to attend a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace
It is a duty of Lord-Lieutenants to nominate individuals who represent community activities to attend an annual Garden Party hosted by The King. This Office receives suggestions for nominations throughout the year from residents in the county and it also makes its own enquiries.
When this Office has drawn up a final list, it seeks basic contact details of the proposed nominees; and asks them if they, and a guest, are interested in attending a Garden Party.
If these proposed nominees agree, the Lord-Lieutenant then asks them to provide further details so that their nomination can be formally submitted to the Royal Household. Those details are: full name, current address, and any special access requirements of both the nominee and their guest.
Before submitting the personal details of their guest, nominees are requested to inform them that they will be doing this and ensure they have their consent to pass on their personal details.
The Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey is the data controller responsible for processing this personal information.
The purpose of this processing is in order to nominate you and your guest to the Royal Household to attend a Garden Party of The King.
Your personal data is processed securely in compliance with the Data Protection Act 2018. Any paperwork you submit is kept locked when the office is unsupervised; and any electronic correspondence is password protected by the office with access limited to those who are responsible for processing it.
Once you have agreed to be nominated and have provided all the details requested to this Office, your nomination will be transferred via encrypted email by the Office of the Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey to the Royal Household. Once received by the Royal Household, the Keeper of the Privy Purse will then be responsible for processing your personal data further. (Please see the Privacy Statement of the Keeper of the Privy Purse issued to Lord-Lieutenants in regard to processing personal data for nominees to Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace below.)
The Office of the Lord-Lieutenant may confirm to the community organisation with which you are associated, that you have been nominated to attend a Garden Party. Other than this, the Office of the Lord-Lieutenant would not share your personal data with any other body.
The Lord-Lieutenant will retain a record of your nomination indefinitely after the event.
The reason for retaining your information is that it is a requirement of the Royal Household that people not be nominated to attend a Garden Party twice. This office therefore needs to retain records of the people it has nominated.
Within six months after the event, the Lord-Lieutenant will however delete or securely destroy all sensitive (‘special category’) personal data (such as special access needs) you provide; as well as the personal details of your guest.
Privacy Statement of the Keeper of the Privy Purse
The data you provide will be processed for the purpose of issuing invitations to this event and to cater for guests with special requirements. Whilst most data will be retained indefinitely by the Royal Household, as an historic record of attendees, any sensitive (‘special category’) personal data will be deleted six months after the event. If you would like more information, please see the Royal Household’s Privacy Notice at www.royal.uk/privacy-policy