SUNSHINE and cucumber sandwiches were the order of the day as a church minister rubbed shoulders with the Queen.

The Rev Erica Wishart, minister at Tranent Parish Church, was thrilled to be invited to the royal garden party in Edinburgh this year after being nominated by Michael Williams, Lord Lieutenant of East Lothian.

She said: “It was a real privilege to be there, in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen along with Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and Princess Anne. My husband, the Rev Bill Wishart [minister at St Martin’s Parish Church in the Magdalene area of Edinburgh], came with me as my ‘plus one’ and we had a lovely afternoon walking around the gardens of Holyroodhouse in the sunshine.

“We couldn’t get near enough to see the royal family close up, but we did manage to photograph the Queen from afar as she paused on the steps for the national anthem; it was easy to spot her as she was wearing a bright salmon pink coat and hat.”

The royal family hosts four garden parties a year – three at Buckingham Palace and one at the Palace of Holyroodhouse – with more than 300,000 people attending in total. They are designed to recognise and reward the public service of the attendees.

Erica added: “There were a few bands playing music in different parts of the gardens, which added atmosphere to the event.

“We enjoyed the tea, sandwiches and cakes in the tea tent: I had been told to expect tiny ones but actually they were a decent size.

There were cucumber sandwiches – of course! – and the egg sandwiches had mint leaves in them which gave an unusual taste, quite refreshing. We also had fruit tarts, Victoria sponge and macaroons, all very tasty.

“You couldn’t miss the royal tea tent – it was the one with the crown on top – but we couldn’t get near it, the crowds were so big.

“It was fun wandering around seeing all the different outfits, uniforms and hats. Someone asked us if we had met anyone of note and I replied: ‘Yes, Bill’s aunty Isabelle and her pal Dot!’ They were the first familiar faces we saw in the crowd.

“That’s one of the good things about the garden party: people of all ages, from all walks of life are invited, so there’s a feeling of inclusivity.

“It was a grand day out and I have written to the Lord Lieutenant to thank him for nominating me to attend on behalf of Tranent Parish Church.”