BNP leader Nick Griffin is due to attend a Buckingham Palace garden party in defiance of left-wing activists.

The far-right politician is expected to be among the 8,000 guests at the event on Thursday which will be hosted by the Queen and also attended by the Duke of Edinburgh.

Other members of the Royal Family who will be mingling on the palace's lawns include the Duke of York, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent.

Mr Griffin's invitation, made in his capacity as an MEP, has caused outrage among anti-fascists. Last summer, he decided not to attend a garden party as a guest of the BNP's London Assembly member Richard Barnbrook, but a BNP spokesman confirmed the party's leader would be attending the event on Thursday.

A Unite Against Fascism spokesman said: "The Queen does not just represent Britain but the Commonwealth. Her staff or whoever invited him really need to take a long, hard look at what this day represents - Nick Griffin and racists or multi-culturalism."

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "Approximately 8,000 guests attend each of the Queen's garden parties. People are nominated by a wide range of organisations who submit lists on a pre-arranged quota. Nick Griffin is automatically eligible for a Garden Party ticket as he is an elected Member of the European Parliament."

Mr Griffin denied he would embarrass the Queen by attending the garden party at Buckingham Palace. He told GMTV he pulled out last year because of the "immense pressure" put on Mr Barnbrook but added that this year is "totally different" because he was invited in his own right.

"The palace have made it very, very clear that they will not discriminate against any elected MEP and I think that's the proper thing to do, so there's no embarrassment there at all," he said.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said Mr Griffin would turn what should be a happy event for many people into a political stunt, but his remarks were branded "alarmist and stupid and juvenile" by Mr Griffin. "If it wasn't for comments like that no one would even notice that I was going," he added.

Mr Griffin, who plans to stand down as party leader in three years, said he was "pretty sure" he would not meet the Queen during the event and had absolutely no intention of trying to speak to her. "If we happen to meet over the sandwiches, of course I will," he added.