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Lightning strikes royal garden party

Lightning injured two women at a Buckingham Palace garden party Tuesday, knocking them to the ground and burning their skin.

A deafening thunderclap sent a shock wave through the gardens behind the palace, where 8,000 guests were attending one of the queen's summer parties.

The lightning struck 150 feet from the royal tea tent where Queen Elizabeth II, her husband, Prince Philip, and their eldest son, Prince Charles, had taken shelter during a torrential cloudburst.

"One of the women fell against a tree and sustained minor head injuries _ cuts and bruises," said Red Cross ambulance volunteer Marcus Stephan.

The injured women, who did not wish to be identified, were in stable condition at St. Thomas' Hospital with superficial burns.

One, age 45, was unconscious for a short time and had some memory loss, as well as burns on her arm, the hospital reported. The other woman, 55, had a burn on her abdomen and left leg.

The monarch gives several garden parties each year and invites people from all walks of life, particularly those who have worked for the benefit of their communities.

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