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Kate Middleton and Sophie Wessex represent the Queen at...
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Kate Middleton and Sophie Wessex represent the Queen at Buckingham Palace garden party

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The Duchess of Cambridge looked elegant in a coral coat dress as she joined Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex to host a garden party at Buckingham Palace. 

Traditionally, the Queen 96, presides over four summer garden parties – three at Buckingham Palace and one at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh – to celebrate and reward guests who have distinguished themselves in public service.

This year she is being represented by senior members of her family after bowing out of the engagements amid ongoing ‘mobility issues’. The garden party requires the royal hosts to be on their feet for more than an hour as they greet hundreds of guests gathered on a crowded lawn.

The Queen missed the State Opening of Parliament last week but made a surprise appearance at Paddington Station on Tuesday to mark the opening of the Elizabeth Line. 

Prince Charles was joined by the Duchess of Cornwall as he stood in for the Queen at the first garden party last week, the day after taking her place at the State Opening of Parliament.

Today it was the turn of the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex, who is one of Her Majesty’s most trusted confidantes.

Coral queen! The Duchess of Cambridge opted for a coral version of an Emilia Wickstead coat dress she has worn on a number of previous occasions

Kate at the Buckingham Palace Garden Party today

Coral queen! The Duchess of Cambridge opted for a coral version of an Emilia Wickstead coat dress she has worn on a number of previous occasions

The Duchess of Cambridge looked resplendent as she joined Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex at the second Buckingham Palace garden party of the summer

The Duchess of Cambridge looked resplendent as she joined Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex at the second Buckingham Palace garden party of the summer

Prince Edward, left, and the Countess of Wessex were on hand to meet hundreds of guests in the Buckingham Palace garden

The Countess of Wessex at the Garden Party

Prince Edward, left, and the Countess of Wessex were on hand to meet hundreds of guests in the Buckingham Palace garden

Light-hearted moment: Kate Middleton and Prince Edward shared a joke as they made their way down the steps to the garden

Light-hearted moment: Kate Middleton and Prince Edward shared a joke as they made their way down the steps to the garden

A royally good time! Every year, the Queen invites 30,000 people to attend the parties. At each Garden Party, around 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake are consumed. Pictured, guests at today's event

A royally good time! Every year, the Queen invites 30,000 people to attend the parties. At each Garden Party, around 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake are consumed. Pictured, guests at today’s event

The Duchess of Cambridge opted for a coral version of an Emilia Wickstead coat dress she has worn on a number of previous occasions. The flattering knee-length frock features long sleeves, a sharp collar and band at the waist to accentuate Kate’s slender frame.

Demonstrating her love of colour blocking, Kate paired the piece with pink suede point toe pumps and added a hat in a matching shade. She finished the look with a metallic clutch bag that brought a touch of sparkle. 

Meanwhile Sophie was typically elegant in a white dress with a pink and purple floral pattern. The Countess of Wessex teamed the midi with a white hat and simple neutral shoes. 

It is the first time the garden parties have been held since 2019 after they were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.   

Speaking on the Queen’s absence, which was announced last week, royal expert Angela Levin said: ‘It’s a good decision for the Queen not to attend garden parties as there would be too much standing. What a shame though.’

The Duchess of Cambridge opted a simple pair of drop earrings and wore her hair bulled back in a chignon

Kate at the Buckingham Palace garden party

The Duchess of Cambridge opted a simple pair of drop earrings and wore her hair bulled back in a chignon 

The annual Buckingham Palace garden parties, started in the 1860s by Queen Victoria, are a way of recognising and rewarding public service and see people from all walks of life enjoy high tea on the lawn to the sounds of a military band.

Every year, the Queen invites 30,000 people to attend the parties and in 2018, 8,000 guests attended the first soiree of the season. At each Garden Party, around 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake are consumed.

For the occasion men are asked to wear morning dress or lounge suits while women are invited to wear a ‘day dress, usually with hats or fascinators’.

This year there was also a ‘Not Forgotten Association Annual Garden Party’ which took place on May 12 and was hosted by Princess Anne, who is patron of the charity.

The Not Forgotten Association provides entertainment, leisure and recreation for the serving wounded, injured or sick and for ex-service men and women with disabilities.

The Garden Party for the organisation, which will also be held at Buckingham Palace, will bring together more than 2,000 beneficiaries of all ages and from all services.

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