The Queen hosts garden party for Tony Hudgell and Lyla O'Donovan


Her Majesty hosted a garden party for Tony Hudgell and Lyla O'Donovan who were unable to attend a formal garden party on 8th May 2024

The Queen arrives to meet Tony Hudgell and Lyla O'Donovan

On Wednesday, 26th June 2024, The Queen hosted a garden party in Buckingham Palace Garden for Tony Hudgell and Lyla O’Donovan and their families.

Both Tony and Lyla were unable to attend a formal garden party on 8th May 2024: Tony due to traffic and Lyla due to ill health.

When Tony’s family shared his disappointment about missing the formal garden party on his social media account, The Royal Family account replied the same day, saying: “Sorry to hear this, Tony! We were looking forward to seeing you too. Fancy trying again another day? Leave it with us…”

Arriving at Buckingham Palace, both children and their families watched the Changing of the Guard from inside the forecourt, before meeting Her Majesty for a private tea party in the garden's Summer House.

A selection of sandwiches, scones and King’s Guard-designed iced biscuits were provided to Lyla, Tony and their families while The Rifles Band played a selection of music from musicals and pop songs.

Her Majesty also presented Tony Hudgell with his British Empire Medal [BEM] following his nomination in the 2024 New Year Honours.

Tony, who co-founded the Tony Hudgell Foundation, was the youngest-ever recipient of a New Year Honour in December when he was awarded the BEM for services to the prevention of child abuse.

The Queen presents Tony Hudgell with his British Empire Medal [BEM]

Following Her Majesty's departure, both children were taken to the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace for a private tour.

Tony shakes hands with The Queen's Equerry in a horse drawn carriage with Lyla and their families

Following the event, Lyla O'Donovan said:

Everyone made us feel so comfortable and made me feel super special so thank you for this. A massive thank you to everyone involved yesterday we are so grateful and feel so lucky to have been invited.

The Donovan family, The Hudgell family and The Queen (R). Tony Hudgell is saluting

Paula Hudgell, Tony's mother added:

We were all extremely honoured to have been invited to Buckingham Palace for afternoon tea with The Queen - An experience we would never have dreamed of. Tony chatted to The Queen as if they were old friends and she was lovely with him and an exceptionally very proud moment when the Queen gave Tony his BEM. 

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