Children's Party at the Palace

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The Children's Party at the Palace was an event organized by Peter Orton of Hit Entertainment and David Johnstone of DJI consult, held at Buckingham Palace Garden on 25 June 2006 in honour of the 80th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. The event, which had the theme British children's literature, was attended by 2,000 children and 1,000 adults[1] who were chosen through a national ballot.[2] On arrival, all guests received a purple hamper with snacks put together by Jamie Oliver.[3]

For the occasion, the palace grounds were transformed into scenes from children's books including places like the Hundred Acre Wood and 80 costumed characters, and a model of the BFG sitting at a huge piano.[3] The grounds also had an author's corner, where authors like J. K. Rowling, Philip Pullman, Eric Hill and Raymond Briggs read from their books and signed autographs.[4]

The Queen's Handbag[edit]

The main attraction of the party was a pantomime style play called The Queen's Handbag, written by children's author and playwright David Wood and directed by Trevor Nunn,[5] which was performed on a stage resembling Buckingham Palace and broadcast live on both BBC One and the CBBC Channel.

In the play, the villains of children's literature are angry to find out none of them had been invited to the party, so they decide to ruin the party for the goodies too. After multiple failed attempts, one of them manages to steal the Queen's handbag. Without its contents, her reading glasses, the Queen won't be able to deliver her closing speech. Multiple scenes of the play, including a scene starring Harry Potter and his friends, were pre recorded and played on large video screens.[6]

The play ended with an rendition of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" by the entire cast, led by the London company of the musical Mary Poppins. Throughout the programme, the audience was kept up to date about the status of the missing handbag with reports from both BBC News and Crimewatch. The use of a fake newsflash caused complaints to be made to the BBC.[7]

This special was only shown once on television and has never been repeated, similar to The Demon Headmaster Takes Over TV, which first aired on 25 December 1997, Christmas Day.

Harry Potter inset[edit]

The Harry Potter sequence was a 2:55 long video clip, filmed on the set of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The clip featured actors Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Matthew Lewis, reprising their roles as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and Neville Longbottom, respectively, and their attempt to help find the Queen's lost handbag using their magical knowledge.

A line of dialogue references a character named Peeves, who is a recurring character in the original Potter novels, but was omitted from the film adaptations but appeared in early video games.


  1. ^ "Kids win invite to palace party", Newsround report. (last updated 24 May 2006; accessed 13 July 2006)
  2. ^ "Palace gets ready for kids' party", Newsround report. (last updated 23 June 2006; accessed 13 July 2006)
  3. ^ a b "Queen puts on huge party for kids", Newsround report. (last updated 25 June 2006; accessed 13 July 2006)
  4. ^ "Sophie Dahl Talks Potter and JKR" from (posted 24 June 2006; accessed 13 July 2006)
  5. ^ Stars and children to gather at Buckingham Palace for the party of lifetime (published 11 June 2006; accessed 13 July 2006)
  6. ^ "Potter stars cast in Queen's play", Newsround report. (last updated 13 June 2006; accessed 13 July 2006)
  7. ^ BBC NEWS | The Editors