Saturday, June 16, 2012

Princes, Duchesses and the Queen, oh my!

Wow. So where to begin? How about here.
If you need a caption for this you obviously need help.

My alarm went off at 8 AM. It was an early start after going to bed at 2 AM. But, it was going to be worth it, I reassured myself, today I was going to see the Queen.. and her grandson.

We planned on leaving by 9 AM, but ended up moseying out around 9:30. After a stop at Starbucks we hopped on the tube and off we went. We followed the masses towards Buckingham Palace and while we were passing the Royal Mews, a car pulls out with none other than Prince Phillip sitting in the back! Talk about a good beginning.

We arrived at the Palace and tried to find somewhere we could get a view. The place was pretty crowded already, and for good reason. Today was the Trooping of the Colour, the annual celebration of the Queen's birthday. Her birthday is in April, but because the weather here is usually better in June, it is held in June.

HRH The Queen leaving

Duchess Katherine, Prince Harry, and Duchess Camilla arriving back at the Palace

HRH the Queen and her family left in carriages and went down The Mall to the ceremonial horses at the Mews and she does some inspection thing. I'm not sure since we were at the palace and that's about a mile or so down The Mall from the Mews.

While we were waiting we just chatted amongst ourselves. At one point, the conversation was on me and Prince Harry getting married, and a minute or so later a woman next to us was telling her husband "I can't wait for the next royal wedding" and her son goes "mummy, who's?" and she responded with "Prince Harry's when he find's someone" and her husband (who was infront of me at this point) points at me over his shoulder and says "I think she'll do it". I gladly, gladly agreed.

Finally the carriages came back to the palace. The family arrived first and went on the balcony for HRH's arrival. The Queen, looking splendid in her favorite colour yellow emerged from her covered carriage and, along with her husband Prince Phillip, proceeded onto a small podium for the final part of the pre-flyover ceremony, the saluting of the guards.
The family on the balcony awaiting HRH's arrival

HRH the Queen and her husband, HRH Prince Phillip
After this the Queen went inside and the police began allowing us common folk to approach the Palace. Unlucky for us, the blockade where we were standing wouldn't be removed so we would have to walk around for us to go out there. My friend Katherine and I did, and we figured we could weasel our way to the front, so we went for it. We rushed out of where we were and quickly found ourselves on the opposite as our friends. We posed for a quick picture, while a friendly man I'd chatted with and who gave Kat and I advice on how to get out there, beams at us with a giant thumbs up. For the amount of people there it was surprisingly not that crowded and we quickly found ourselves less than 4 rows from the palace gates! eep! Talk about EXCITING.
Katherine and I at the fence!

The Queen is in!
A short while later, the doors opened. Out came HRH the Queen and Prince Phillip, followed by Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla, Prince William and Duchess Katherine, then Prince Harry. The flyby began moments later. The fly by was really neat and I was hoping the jet-things would have the red, white, and blue smoke like they had for the Jubilee-- and they did! It was so incredible to see. Almost as incredible as Prince Harry's face.
HRH, and yes, that is what she wore to the Royal Wedding

NOTICE- Prince Harry looking RIGHT at me. 

One of my favorites. Also, Harry's still looking at me
It was strange, but as I told my friend "this makes me proud to be British, and I'm not even British." It was one of the greatest things I've ever done- if not THE. It's impossible to describe why, all I can do is recommend that you see this at least once in your life. It happens every year, so you can plan ahead.
I do believe part of it is because we don't have anything like this in America. We celebrate our dead president's birthdays by having a day off from work, and that's about it. While here, it's a national holiday and they celebrate! They know how to do grandiose and pomp, and heck- they do it well! And it's also fantasy, the whole Royalty thing. They seem fake, almost, until you see them in person.

final leg of the flyover

flyover over the Palace with the family on the balcony

After this, we went to Westminster Abbey. Kelli and Lizzy went inside, but the rest of us didn't want to pay the price, so we're planning on going to church there tomorrow, aka Father's Day! So instead we went and looked closer at Big Ben, and a walk across half the Thames. Then we went to Trafalger Square and saw the Olympics clock. Then as we were walking to leave a parade began, with bagpipers and drums and stuff. It was super neat, and really interesting because they would play songs that we in America know, but that's because we American's stole the sang and changed the lyrics (God Bless America = God Save the Queen, Yankee Doodle...). The length of the people in the parade was LOOOOONG, over a mile. Katherine, Brandi, Lindsay and I began to walk back to our dorm and were searching for a tube station (which took a longg walk to find).

We made it back and our feet were SCREAMING. We'd been on our feet since 9:30, only sitting for maybe 30 min when we ate lunch and not even 5 on the tube ride back (seats were filled the majority of the ride). Brandi just knocked on the door and it was very close to torture to get up and walk a couple steps to open the door.


PS- to see all my pictures, from the Trooping and my trip so far, click here

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