It has been a fantastic few days celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, but for me my extra special feeling started from the moment I received my post a few weeks ago. It was a typical morning, as I went to get my post, until I discovered an envelope that looked somewhat different to my usual mail. For starters it came with the Royal stamp on it, which made me wonder, what could this be?

I quickly opened it and find the invitation to the Garden Party on 11 May 2022 and what an honour it felt. I was heading out that day and just remember sitting in the car just checking it was for me. I couldn’t believe it, that I was going to an event that I have always only dreamt about. I have nominated so many people for these garden parties and never had an opportunity to go, so this was just so amazing. I told my mum and the first thing she said was: “what will you wear?”  I replied, “Indian dress of course mum” She said: “Are you sure you can, check what it says on the invite” It did say national dress is fine to wear. I am so proud as a woman of South Asian heritage to be invited to the party and I wanted to stand out in my Indian dress.

Later that day I rummage through my cupboard and see outfits which are so out of fashion or way over the top. I start to feel quite stressed at this point and I said to my mum lets go Southall and buy something. I knew time was very limited as I was busy leading up to the party, so we end up taking a trek to Southall Broadway and much to my dismay I didn’t like anything, I couldn’t believe how the fashion changes so quickly and it’s very overwhelming to know what to buy. I started feeling hungry and irritated so we decided we will check one more shop, low and behold as I walk in I see this man with a turban and he gets up and says “Minreet it’s Harry” I couldn’t believe this is my school friend, what a small world. I told him that I had this event, he responds: “leave it with me, we will find you something” and within half an hour he shows me this new outfit that has come into the store and says what about this? It was this lovely baby pink trouser suit, I wasn’t too sure when I first looked at it, tried it on, it felt loose and then I thought actually this is going to be perfect as most of the outfits aren’t tight fitting anymore and it’s the style. We went with it, he gifted me this beautiful outfit, and he’s someone I hadn’t seen for over twenty years, what a heart of gold. I knew the big day was approaching and I felt reassured that I have something to wear.

On the morning I get up early, go for a walk, come home and have breakfast only eating a banana and having a masala chai as I want to save space later for the cucumber sandwiches and cake! It was exciting getting ready for an event that I have always wanted to go to.

As I arrived, there are long queues all the way around Buckingham Palace and it’s raining. I walk to the main entrance and within 15 minutes I enter. It wasn’t pleasant with the weather, I had a shawl on the hook fell off, I am carrying my heels in another b

No cucumber sandwiches here. Image: Minreet Kaur

ag and an umbrella in one hand, it was hilarious.

I walk in and see the beautiful gardens, I absorb the beauty and just feel grateful to be here because not everyone gets an invitation, it’s an honour. I look around and I don’t see a lot of people from the South Asian community but the few I did see were also wearing Indian dress which was lovely to see. Then the best bit was the atmosphere, they had a band playing music, the royal tent was on the other side and I briefly saw HRH Prince Charles and Princess Anne as well as a few celebrities.

The moment I was looking forward to was tea and cake. Lots of sandwiches but didn’t find the cucumber one that I was so excited to have.

For vegetarians there was an Indian veggie wrap, carrot sandwich, lots of variety of cakes from Victoria sponge, passion fruit tart, bakewell tart, carrot cake, a triple chocolate dessert, my eyes were bigger than my plate. I filled my plate with cakes and to finish off an English breakfast tea which aided the headache I had from all the rain that drenched me and my hair, leaving me with frizz ball hair.

I feel really privileged to have been to such an event and to know what it feels like to be at a garden party. My mum would have loved it and I hope one day I get to go with her. For anyone else who is going please do take some masala for the tea!