The final preparations for the Patron’s Lunch in The Mall are well under way – but the weather may not be to everyone’s taste. Guests are arriving for the massive open-air party on the Mall – the last of the official celebrations to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday.Spirits are high but there are fears that rain could spoil the fun with thundery showers heading for central London.Heavy rain fell as the first of the guests arrived for the Patron’s Lunch at 10am.
As the gates opened, they passed rough security checks, ready to collect their wicker basket hampers.With rain falling, many were decked in the sheer white ponchos handed out by the organisers.Some wore union flag hats or carried patriotic flags as they moved down The Mall looking for their seats.Among the first to get their hampers were Maxine and Nigel Hawkins from Gloucester.
Mrs Hawkins, 53, said: “We’re going to find our seats and then hover under the trees.”Some 10,000 people will sit down for the hamper lunch to honour the Queen’s commitment to hundreds of charities.The hampers will be filled with a range of treats including a can of Pimm’s, a mini pork pie and cupcakes.The party has been organised by Her Majesty’s eldest grandson Peter Phillips.
He came up with the idea after realising there has never been an event to bring together the many organisations she has supported over the years.He told Sky News: “It’s a tight timeline, everyone has been scratching their heads over the past few months wondering how we’re going to do it, but the team have been amazing and everyone has stepped up to the mark and so far so good.”
The Queen is patron of over 600 charities both in the UK and across the Commonwealth, 90% of which will be represented at the lunch.There will also be a carnival-style procession around St James’s Park and down The Mall to bring to life various decades of the Queen’s reign.
The organisers have encouraged people up and down the country to join the celebrations by holding their own street parties.There has been some criticism of The Patron’s Lunch after it was revealed that each ticket costs £150.But organisers insist the price is fair because it is not a state-funded event unlike other royal celebrations we have seen in the past.The lunch will bring to an end three days of celebrations.in honour of the Queen’s 90th birthday on 21 April.