Around 500 of the city’s most philanthropic glitterati gathered May 20 at Tudor Place in Georgetown for the Historic House and Garden’s 23rd Annual Spring Garden Party. This year’s social event was chaired by Elizabeth Powell of Georgetown.
Under an expansive, luminous, white tent surrounded by pristine gardens and an immaculately manicured lawn, guests gathered to celebrate and honor longtime leader and supporter of Tudor Place, Ellen MacNeille Charles, who was given a surprise horse-drawn carriage ride from her 31st Street home to Tudor Place, just up the street.
Charles, a board president emeritus, has made a lasting impact on Tudor Place over the years through her leadership, advocacy and special blend of experience, wisdom and good humor. She was presented with an engraved cup and artwork and gave a gracious speech, thanking attendees for their patronage of Tudor Place.
Interests that inform the life of Charles were woven into the party scene: tablecloths were chocolate brown and white to reflect the racing silks of Charles’s Hillwood Stable, the topiary showed her love of dogs (and show dogs), one cocktail was called BandBox in honor of her racing horse. The Foxcroft Chorale from Charles’s alma mater during the evening.
At the presentation, it was announced that the garden party helped to raise more than $300,000 for one of Georgetown’s crown jewels, as Tudor Place itself was bathed in artful lighting.
Party patrons mingled, sipping mint juleps and tasting light bites, including lamb chops and salmon. In the crowd of prominent Washingtonians and guests from around the country and abroad, ambassadors, architects, business leaders, community leaders and neighbors were dressed to the nines in their garden-party best.
Through its education programs, Tudor Place’s rich heritage provides a living classroom for subjects including American history, the environment and architecture for more than 3,000 school children every year in D.C. and the surrounding areas.