You Can Now Have A Royal Picnic On The Queen's Lawn

Commoners are storming the castle, armed with crumpets and Brie. Nothing to worry about — the queen herself has invited them. Seeking to give locals and tourists alike something fun and unique to do after more than a year of the fun-crushing COVID-19 pandemic, Queen Elizabeth II has opened up the Buckingham Palace lawn starting Friday, July 9 (via The Washington Post). 

Her Majesty isn't allowing just anyone to sprawl on the grass of the 39-acre garden — the largest private garden in London, according to the Royal Collection Trust. Adult guests must pay £16.50, or about $23, for the privilege. But that buys guests a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stroll the gardens at their leisure, something Queen Elizabeth has never allowed in her nearly 70-year reign, until now. If they want to bring a bucket of KFC extra crispy, the queen won't be offended — at least not enough to give anyone the boot. Some very lucky vendors are setting up food stalls throughout the garden, giving visitors even more options. Guests can't come in packing gin or Guinness, however. "The idea is 'sober picnics,'" the media relations person for the Royal Collection Trust told The Washington Post.

The waiting list is long for a chance to picnic at Buckingham Palace

As you might have guessed, the queen's idea of inviting the public into her private garden at Buckingham Palace is immensely popular. Would-be palace picnickers need to order their tickets in advance, and the waiting list recently had 78,000 names on it, according to The Washington Post. Palace officials expect some 2,000 guests to explore the grounds and maybe unfurl a picnic blanket every day.

Before COVID-19, thousands of visitors each day were able to glimpse the spacious gardens as part of the standard palace tour. But they weren't allowed to walk on the grass, much less stretch out and relax on it. Another feature of the pre-COVID days was the lavish late spring garden parties the queen would throw for some 8,000 special guests, dressed formally and sipping champagne. Events like this, of course, have been canceled in England and across the globe for the past two seasons. Queen Elizabeth wanted to give the people something a little festive, as the pandemic finally starts to back off: a chance to breathe the royal fresh air.