Buckingham Palace unveils picnicware range as visitors invited to dine on lawns

Buckingham Palace has unveiled a picnicware range featuring a floral blanket, a sandwich bag and a water bottle as its gardens are reopened to the public for the first time in almost two years.

From Friday, visitors will have the chance to enjoy a picnic in the Queen’s back garden, settling down for a sandwich on the manicured lawns.

The 39-acre gardens, closed last year due to the pandemic, will be open until September, allowing ticket holders to freely roam the grounds of Her Majesty’s official London residence.

Visitors will have the unique opportunity to guide themselves along a route taking in the 156-metre herbaceous border, plane trees planted by and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and views of the island and its beehives across the 3.5-acre lake.

The only time visitors have previously been able to picnic on the Queen’s sweeping lawn was during a Diamond Jubilee event in June 2012.

A pale blue picnic rug, priced at £35, is being sold by Buckingham Palace

Credit: Royal Collection Trust

To mark the occasion, the Royal Collection Trust has unveiled a new range of summertime picnic-inspired products which will be sold at the Buckingham Palace shop.

Featuring a design inspired by royal ceremonies and summer flowers, items include a picnic blanket, a sandwich bag, cotton napkins and a reusable water bottle.

The sandwich bag, priced at £7.95, features colourful motifs of corgis, cupcakes, carriages, butterflies, flowers and soldiers in red tunics and bearskin hats.

The Buckingham Palace hand sanitiser, decorated with a mauve crown and two sprays of flowers costs £3.95, while the pale blue picnic rug, priced at £35, is rolled and secured with a floral fastening which is also decorated with a blue and white china teapot.

Orange and lemon flavoured shortbread biscuits are among the items being sold

Credit: Royal Collection Trust

Strawberry and champagne jam and buttery shortbread biscuits are among the treats being sold, while a white cotton napkin embroidered with a gold fork and spoon is £8.95.

Sally Goodsir, the Royal Collection’s curator of decorative arts, said: "We sadly haven’t been able to open the state rooms this year because of the current situation as we might ordinarily have done and therefore it’s wonderful to be able to open the garden instead."

She explained how the garden was steeped in history, with George III’s consort Queen Charlotte once having a menagerie on site including a zebra. Meanwhile, Victoria and Albert had designed a more naturalistic garden, with the latter nearly drowning while ice-skating on the lake in 1841, before being rescued by his wife.

Visitors will see garden ornaments including the 18-foot-tall Waterloo Vase, created to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo, but later given to the future King George IV.

The 18-foot-tall Waterloo Vase, created to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo, was given to the future King George IV in 1906

Credit: Christopher Pledger for the Telegraph

Many elements of the garden have particular meaning for the Royal family. The crimson Royal William rose was planted to mark the birth of Prince William, while a hybrid rhododendron called London Calling was created to mark the Queen’s 70th birthday.

The pale pink Elizabeth Glamis Rose was planted in memory of the Queen Mother, while a magnolia tree called Elizabeth was given to the Queen in 1962 from the Brooklyn Botanical Garden in New York.

One section is named after a former gardener, while Dick’s Plane tree is so-called after another former gardener called Richard. And a species of scuttle fly discovered in the garden in 2001 was named after head gardener, Mark Lane.

Daily talks by visitor services wardens and trails for families are included as part of the general visit.

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