A wave from the Duchess upon arrival.
Very appropriately guards played tunes from Disney's Frozen in front of the Palace. I love these thoughtful touches for the children. I doubt many of us know a young child who doesn't simply adore Frozen, and I'm sure George and Charlotte are fans too.
Roya Nikkhah shared this photo.
The Queen gave permission for three additional garden parties this year, including today's tea party. Later this month Prince Harry will host his first solo garden party for current and former members of the military at the annual Not Forgotten Association; the Duke of York will host another.The party was attended by a number of charities which help support families, and specifically children dealing with bereavement, including Prince William's patronage Child Bereavement UK, and Scotty's Little Soldiers, Winston's Wish and SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.Kate chats with guests.
Ahead of the party, Kensington Palace said: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry have arranged the event as a way to acknowledge and honour the fact that a number of young children have had to come to terms with the loss of someone very close to them at a young age, having lost a parent in Armed service to the country. Their Royal Highnesses hope the event will provide an opportunity for these children to broaden their support networks amongst other families with similar experiences."
Train tickets were sent with the invites.
Last month, royal reporter Roya Nikkhah shared a look at a hand-written letter Prince Harry sent to invitees (I'm sure the recipients were rather surprised to see it with their tickets). In the sweet note Harry wrote: "I know it's Buckingham Palace but please don't worry about dressing up, there's no need. I won't tell if you don't! Loads of fun stuff organised so wear what u want, I dare you! Fingers crossed for sunshine!" It is little gestures and personal touches like that which are not only so appreciated but incredibly memorable.
The royals mingled in the crowd. Below, the Duchess chatting to a young boy.
Prince William was surrounded by guests.
The Duchess got right into the spirit of fun and games. She was particularly eager to try her hand at firing water balloons.
Kate's expression :)
There was clearly a lot of thought and consideration given to making this a family-centred day with a host of entertainment and enjoyable activities for the children. William, Kate and Harry appeared to thoroughly enjoy it :)
A great photo of William and Kate.
The event featured performances from Jess Glynne and Nina Conti, as well as children’s entertainers and magician Lance Corporal Richard Jones. There was an abundance of stalls where guests took part in face painting, arts and crafts, science experiments, circus skills and cupcake decorating.
Kate with a little girl in the cupcake tent.
Members of the Royal Foundation’s Full Effect and Coach Core programmes led workshops in beatboxing, breakdancing and a number of other sports.
Harry played “plate-spinning” with three-year-old "Spiderman" George Hinchcliffe. George's father, Captain Richard Hinchfliffe, who served with the Royal Armoured Medical Corps, died in an accident as a civilian in 2015 shortly after leaving the RAMC.
Speaking from the stage, Prince Harry said “I can assure you that Buckingham Palace gardens have not seen this much fun, ever.”
More from The Telegraph's story:
“We’re here to celebrate you. We're here to remind you that we as a family, and as a nation will never, ever forget the sacrifices that all of you here have made," he said. “We wanted to give you an opportunity to know that you are part of, sadly, a very large group of fantastic people. The three of us, and all of our family, wanted to thank you so, so much for everything you've done.
Among the children who bonded with Prince Harry was Jack Rigby, six, the son of Fusilier Lee Rigby who was murdered in 2013 by Islamic extremists outside the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, south London. Jack's mother, Rebecca Rigby, 34, said: “It means so much that the royals put this event on and are showing us their support. It's so important for Jack and all the other children here to know they are not forgotten – that they've not gone through all of this to be forgotten, that they've got their support. “It's also so important for Jack to be able to speak to other children and know that other children have gone through the same thing as he has.”
There have been several moving stories in the press in recent days about those attending. The Evening Telegraph shared a story about a family travelling from Germany for the party:
Pete Cluff had served in the British Army with the Royal Engineers for almost 22 years when he died of heart failure while on a team-building exercise aged 41.
Now, wife Kirsty, 37, and daughters Heather, eight, and Meredith, five, have been invited to sit down for a cuppa with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry at a special Buckingham Palace tea party to honour the children of those who have died serving in the Armed Forces. Kirsty, who had to travel from Germany in order to attend The Party at the Palace, told the Tele the girls were “over the moon” about the upcoming event.
She said: “I didn’t want them to miss out on the opportunity so we packed up the car and came across. It is really good for them to be around other children that have gone through what they have so they know they’re not the only ones. The girls haven’t stopped speaking about it — they are so excited.The invitation was a hand-written one. It said that people could wear what they wanted but the girls are going to go out and get matching frocks.”
Below, the late Pete Cluff with his beautiful daughters Heather and Meredith.
Child Bereavement UK shared these fun photo.
The audience enjoys a performance from Jess Glynne.
The party concluded with a special display from the RAF Falcons.
The party was organised by one of the world's leading international event organisers, Fait Accompli. The London-based company is Buckingham Palace's first port of call for official functions. Founder Camilla Monckton was close friend of Princess Diana's and organised an array of events for her at Kensington Palace. Pippa Middleton and James Matthews have hired the firm for their impending nuptials with wedding planners reportedly joining Pippa and Michael Middleton for preparations last week.
Moving on to what Kate wore today.
The Duchess wore the pretty See by Chloé dress she debuted for the unforgettable children's party at Government House in Canada with George and Charlotte last September. Today's event had something of a similar feel, with the piece a suitable choice once again for the relaxed feel of the engagement.
The $460 dress is from the bran's Fall 2016 collection which was described as "careful, youthful and poetic". The pointelle-knit, cotton-blend dress is underpinned with a tonal slip and has a flattering fit-and-flare silhouette, finished with a ruffled collar and cuffs. The piece remains available at Saks Fifth Avenue.
|Saks Fifth Avenue|
|Saks Fifth Avenue|
As she did in Canada, Kate wore the $180 Acne Studios Leather Waist Belt. It is described: "Finished with a simple burnished gold buckle, Acne Studios' belt is crafted from the smoothest cream leather with a tan underside."
Kate also teamed the dress with her trusty Monsoon Fleur Wedges again.
The £45 espadrille wedges have been updated and are now available in taupe and navy, retailing for £45. They are described: "The classic court shoe gets a warm-weather spin with our Fleur espadrille wedges. In a sumptuous suede effect with an almond toe." At present, they are available in most sizes at Monsoon.
Kate completed the look with her favourite Annoushka pearls and Kiki McDonough hoops.
You can watch a video here.
We leave you with this photo from the talented Andrew Parsons who took the vast majority of the images featured on the blog today. The look on this little girl's face, clutching her teddy, shows the excitement and wonderment she felt meeting "a real life princess". I very much hope it becomes an annual event - it's certainly worth it to put these smiles on children's faces.
Hope you're all enjoying a lovely weekend. It's exactly one week until Pippa's wedding!