Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Royal Gala Dinner at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

The Queen arriving at The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park — looking absolutely radiant!

With the occasion of the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton, before they became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, HRH Queen Elizabeth II hosted a lavish red carpet pre-wedding dinner and drinks gala at the Mandarin Oriental on Knightsbridge, attended by royal figures such as the Royal families of Spain, Greece, Serbia, Sweden, Belgium Denmark and Luxemburg, as well as the Sultan of Brunei and Sheikh Ahmad Hmoud Al-Sabah of Kuwait. The Queen's cousin, Lady Elizabeth Anson, also arrived looking surprisingly calm considering that she helped coordinate the royal wedding reception the following day, with her event planning company 'Party Planners', ever popular with Royals, foreign glitterati and american celebs.

Lady Elizabeth Anson (Liz's cousin) and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark

"People might think the Queen wouldn’t have time to worry about menus and tastings and how things look, but she is the most meticulous hostess. She is really interested in what people are going to eat or when they are going to get drinks and making sure that they not waiting too long." 

The Mandarin Oriental — the 'grand lady' of Knightsbridge

The Mandarin Oriental, recognized as one of London's grandest hotels, and a jewel in the heart of Knightsbridge, is a favourite 'off-site' venue for the royal family, and the world's elite, with its wonderful ambience, magnificent old world charm and top-notch service. Royal guests for the gala dinner arrived using the hotel's private red carpeted entrance overlooking Hyde Park, and not surprisingly were greeted with camera flashing paparazzi snapping photos of the unprecedented parade of resplendent royals.

Princess Beatrice

Princess Eugenie

Prince Edward and Sophie, Count and Countess of Wessex

Camilla and Prince Charles

Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece and Prince Pavlos of Greece

Prince Felipe of Asturias, Princess Letizia and Queen Sofia of Spain

Princess Mathilde and Prince Philip of Belgium

Prince Daniel and Princess Victoria of Sweden

For royal events at the Mandarin Oriental, cocktail receptions are usually held in The Carlyle Room, decorated in rich red-gold tones and dramatic chandeliers, with guests invited to stroll out into the garden with champagne in hand. The Grand Ballroom, with it's floor to ceiling windows and beautiful sweeping views over Hyde Park, boasts it's own exclusive entrance onto Knightsbridge, a private foyer, cloakroom and special access to the spectacular outdoor terrace — a sumptuous venue for the Queen's 300 royal guests and dignitaries.

The Carlyle Room at The Mandarin, conveniently adjacent to the Grand Ballroom

The magnificent Mandarin Oriental Ballroom for Royal Gala Dinners, 
overlooking the gorgeous outdoor garden

The Mandarin Garden and Terrace with exclusive access from the Grand Ballroom

The Mandarin Garden and Terrace at the hotel is a hidden gem. The private outdoor space is set against a floral backdrop in wonderful country-garden like surroundings and appears a world away from the hustle and bustle of central London — a chance for the royal guests to enjoy the vintage champagne and delicious canapés, all specially prepared by the dedicated kitchen of culinary icon Heston Blumenthal and head chef Ashley Palmer-Watts.

London's Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Head Chef Ashley Palmer-Watts