News & Politics

Brian Williams and Washington Swoons At Queen’s Garden Party

What: The Queen's Garden Party

Where: The British Ambassador's Residence, 3100 Massachusetts Avenue NW

When: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Who: A wide cross-section of the Washington elite gathered in the spacious garden of British Ambassador Sir David Manning for a festive garden party honoring the visit of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. The guests ranged from CIA Director General Michael Hayden to NBC News' Brian Williams, down from New York for the visit, as well as Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congressmen Roy Blunt, Steny Hoyer, and Dennis Kucinich (with wife, Elizabeth), Senators John Sununu and Joe Lieberman, David Bradley and wife Katherine, Brit Hume, Bill Kristol, and Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier, along with British ex-pats, businessmen and women, and military brass, among many others.

Food: Delicious scones with jam, tea sandwiches, pastries and cookies galore.

Drink: There were two kinds of guests—those who drank club soda in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday and those who opted for champagne. Needless to say, the sounds of corks popping provided a steady tattoo to the afternoon's events.

Scene: The warm afternoon filled with sunlight and blue sky couldn't have been more perfect, but, then again, as a Royal Marine leaned over and told one guest who commented on the weather, "Well she is the head of the Church, so she might have a thing or two to say about the weather." After presenting a timed-entry card for a specific 15-minute window, guests milled about on the ambassador's lawn as everyone waited for Her Majesty to appear. British pinstripes, colorful women's hats, and lots of pink dominated the crowd. The regimental band of the Coldstream Guards played on the portico as she and Prince Philip filed down the stairs into the crowd, shaking hands and making small talk among the crowd. Joe Lieberman with his wife, Hadassah, worked their way to the front of the path to greet her, and Ambassador Manning led her through the crowd introducing her to some noticeable VIPs.

The regal Prince Philip worked the opposite side of the crowd, his hands clasped firmly behind his back, and met with a glare simultaneously both icy and jovial those American guests uncouth enough to stick out their hands in greeting. A protocol note: You don't shake his hand; he shakes yours. After an hour's circuit of the tent and lawn amid a dwindling crowd, Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, went inside to prepare for her state dinner at the White House tonight.


Bold Face Names: 5 (out of 5)
Swankiness: 5 (out of 5)
Food/Drinks: 4 (out of 5)
Exclusivity: 5 (out of 5)

Total Score: 19 (out of 20) 

UPDATE: An earlier version of this piece reported that the Queen skipped by Brian Williams during her final stops in the garden. According to the Examiner, the NBC anchor met her earlier in the party.

The program from today’s event.

The program from today's reception with the Queen.