PET at the Palace
31 May 2016
Members of PET’s Access to Learning Team were invited to the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace this May in recognition of their longstanding commitment to adult education. They were surprised to be nominated to attend the party, and were excited to receive their personal invitations from the Lord Chamberlain’s office.
The team administers PET’s grants programme and provides more than 800 advice sessions to prisoners each year, helping them make use of distance-learning courses to further their education in custody. They also brief prison education staff on how best to assist prisoners with their distance learning, and work closely with course suppliers to adapt learning materials and develop the best possible learning experience for prisoners.
The garden party was held in Buckingham Palace gardens on 10 May, and the team got to walk through the main entrance to the palace whilst waving to tourists taking photos.
Two brass bands played popular songs – the James Bond theme was played right after the National Anthem, which made everyone in the crowd laugh as they waited for members of the Royal Family to arrive. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh greeted the crowds and stopped to chat with guests right in front of the PET team, who had a chance to admire the Queen’s pink outfit and matching hat. The Queen’s lady-in-waiting told the team about attending the garden parties in Edinburgh, where she makes sure to wear an extra layer of clothing.
The team tried every type of sandwich and cake on offer, and were impressed by the speed the staff managed to dish out 20,000 sandwiches and pieces of cake and 27,000 cups of tea to thousands of guests. After the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family retired to the Royal Tea Tent the team had a good look around the vast gardens and listened to the band playing songs from Frozen. The day ended with ice cream and another wave at tourists at the palace gates.