The talk was all about “royal warrants”, relative merits of Bentleys and Jaguars, and “limited editions” of Saville Row shirts. And then there was the Queen herself being chauffeured around in a sleek golf buggy.
After all, we were in her backyard, aka the back gardens of Buckingham Palace, which she has leased out for a three-day festival to commemorate her coronation 60 years ago.
“Did you know that where we are sitting was originally the front side of the Palace?” asked a kindly old gentleman as he allowed himself to be poured another glass of champagne while admiring the “wonderful” view of the sprawling gardens festooned with colourful tents and banners.
Many had paid £30 to spend a glorious English summer afternoon in the Queen’s gardens -- and another £90 for the evening concert featuring some of Britain’s most celebrated pop stars including Katherine Jenkins, apparently the Queen’s favourite singer. And they made the most of it with seven-year-old Jessica Fitch even managing to get herself photographed with the Queen.
If a festival ever looked more like a posh people’s open-air trade fair, this was it with Jaguar Land Rover leading the show with a mini-celebration of their own at St James’s Palace attended by some 700 guests, including many flown in from around the world. Among them was a group of bleary-eyed Chinese journalists, struggling to adjust themselves to their new surroundings.
“We thought it was a great occasion to celebrate our historic links with the royal family,” said Del Sehmar of Jaguar Land Rover India.
It is one of more than 200 holders of the royal warrant showcasing their products -- from Wellington boots and chimney sweeps to luxury cars and haute couture. There are even harvest wagons to be had -- and not just any old harvest wagon considering that a mini version costs a whopping £3,000.
Who says Britain is in recession?