The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has made it impossible for the annual royal soirees to go forward.
One of Buckingham Palace’s most revered traditions—annual summer garden parties—will not go on as planned this year.
A royal spokesperson confirms, “The decision has been taken that garden parties will not take place in 2021.”
Under normal circumstances, three parties happen at Buckingham Palace each May, held for the queen to honor and recognize public service. The decision to forgo these parties was announced a day after the U.K. prime minister, Boris Johnson, imposed another national lockdown for Britain, this one set to last until at least mid-February due to a new, more easily transmitted COVID-19 variant currently spreading across the nation.
Ultimately, as deadlines are approaching for the multiple vendors that would cater to the lavish parties, it’s not feasible to move forward with planning the events while taking into account current COVID-19 precautions. The contractors who normally would help produce the affairs have all been informed of this decision.
Garden parties have graced the palace since the 1860s and nowadays are attended by almost 30,000 people coming together to celebrate public life and British society. The annual events also allow members of the public the rare opportunity to mingle alongside members of the royal family. The queen’s last celebration, which took place in 2019, included royal family members Prince Harry and his cousins Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as Duchess Meghan, were also previous attendees of the royal celebration.