LESLEY KEATING: Buckingham Palace was an overwhelming bling-fest

We went to a Buckingham Palace garden party last week and I was very excited to see what it would be like.

Monday, 5th June 2017, 7:46 am
A garden party at Buckingham Palace

We were marshalled through the main, ornate gates and across the gravel, past sentry boxes and armed police under the gaze of hundreds of camera-wielding tourists.

We then queued in the central courtyard before being admitted into the hallowed inner sanctum, a fantastic, baroque world of red and gold ornateness. It was a truly overwhelming bling-fest that I’d not expected.

We were then shepherded out on to the famous Royal Terrace and down on to immaculately-manicured lawns framed by two billowing white marquees.

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There were two military bands, each, confusingly playing different clashing tunes, and what seemed like an army of Beefeaters. There was also a sea of people in expensive suits, floral dresses, lacy fascinators and statement hats quite capable of taking someone’s eye out or, at the very least, distracting aircraft.

I’d dutifully worn wedges as instructed, but they were already starting to rub a bit. We passed a woman supporting a friend who clearly had some sort of disability because she was very unsteady. In fact she nearly fell as she valiantly gripped her friend’s arm on more than one occasion.

I felt sorry for them as they lurched their way towards the tea tent and was just about to offer my assistance when I realised she was actually not disabled at all, just wearing a pair of very high and not very suitable stiletto sandals which were getting stuck in the grass!

There was then just enough time to wolf down our cucumber finger sandwiches laced with mint leaves before the royal anthem sounded and Prince Andrew appeared.

He was flanked by security and his daughter Princess Eugenie (who was wearing the very Whistles dress I’d nearly bought). Then, with my feet beginning to really kill, we decided it may be a good time to leave.

As many people claim to pinch various palace items as a memento, my friend demanded to know what souvenir I’d brought home. Blisters, I told her...


I had to visit hospital this week for tests and dutifully took a seat, expecting a bunch of people with varying degrees of illness.

I expected at least one of them would actually look unwell.

Out of the group I was sat with, there was one solitary man clutching his papier-mâché bowl.

The others were all chatting on mobiles, laughing raucously, or complaining.

One of them took a sandwich order for her entire entourage and then brought them back for a bit of a picnic.

It was more like a jolly crew of mates on a day out, all excitedly jabbering about what they were going to watch on TV or have for dinner. I felt such a fraud being in there because I was actually in pain.


We had coffee in the famous Paternoster Chop House, near St Paul’s Cathedral last week. For those in the know, this is the setting for TV’s First Dates.

I was more than a bit intrigued to see what it was like. After coffee I went into the very ladies’ loos where girls are filmed telling friends about their first impression of their dates!

The biggest impression on me was the decor. On the wall behind the cistern was a huge, glossy print.

What do you suppose it was? A London landmark? Abstract art? A tasteful black and white photograph perhaps?

Nope. It was a huge, close-up picture of very well-grilled pork chop! Not quite what I’d expected to greet me when I opened the door!