October 21, 2016

£1.5m Royal street party: Queen marks 90th birthday with picnic for 10,000

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THE Queen’grandson Peter Phillips has revealed tickets for a giant street party in The Mall during the monarch’s 90th birthday weekend celebrations will cost £150 each.

Buckingham Palace has given its blessing to The Patron’s Lunch, designed as a celebration of the Queen’s long and dedicated work for 600 organisations of which she is patron, despite the cost raising eyebrows.

Officials hope, the lunch on Sunday June 12 for 10,000 guests – 1,000 members of the public picked from a ballot opening next month and 9,000 guests from the Queen’s charities and other organisations – will be replicated with street parties around the country and Commonwealth to mark the sovereign’s landmark birthday.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will watch part of the event from the royal box beside the Queen Victoria Memorial outside the palace. Other members of the Royal Family are also expected to attend including the Duke of Cambridge and his brother Prince Harry, who are joint presidents of the event.

Big screens will be set up in Green Park and St James’s Park for the public to watch the show, which will follow a service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on June 10 and Trooping the Colour on June 11 to mark the Queen’s official birthday.

Princess Anne’s 38-year-old son, who runs an events management firm called Sports and Entertainment Ltd (SEL UK), came up with the idea of the picnic lunch, the first ever street party in The Mall, with his business partners and will receive a fee for organising the not-for-profit event featuring a carnival parade.

He defended the cost of the tickets which will raise £1.5 million, saying: “It’s not exactly a cheap exercise. Fortunately our corporate partners have provided the funding for the majority of the costs.”

He also insisted he went through the same process as anyone else in pitching the idea to officials at the palace before mentioning it to his grandmother, who said: “I’ve heard you’re up to something.”

Peter added: “She is really excited about it. She thinks it’s a great idea. She loves the idea, the fact that all these organisations are going to be brought together for the first time and there is going to be a celebration.”

The 600 organisations will be able to raise money by auctioning off up to 40 per cent of their tickets at higher prices if they want to and any surplus from the event itself will be put into a new Patron’s Fund to support the Queen’s charities.

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