As important to the British psyche as Tea, wellies and apologising for other people bumping into you, the Royal family is an institution. Britain (/England/the United Kingdom/whatever) simply wouldn’t be the same without the bastion of the eccentric royal family: the Queen’s imperious waves, Prince Philips gaffes, Charles & Camilla’s love affair and Kate and Williams rock-star icon just adds such a soupcon to the mystique of Britain.
So, on our epic Tourist day where we began by climbing Big Ben, our next item simple had to be exploring Buckingham Palace. Aka. the Queen’s house. After a wee lunch break, and mad cross-town dash in a black taxi (as someone had left the tickets where we had partaken of lunch) we lined up in eager anticipation. Sadly we weren’t personally escorted as the Queen was on her Scottish Summer Hols, but we made do with the audio tour headphone thingees they kindly left for us. I’m a little saddened as they didn’t leave handwritten notes or anything, but in the packing for their holidays they will have been busy, especially with the Corgi’s milling. I’m willing to forgive them, but I will make a note to ask her to speak with her secretary about the laxity.
It was everything thing I thought it would be –
ostentatious, sumptuous and amazing. Just what a Palace should be. (Nb:
you aren’t mean to take any photos in the palace itself, but I managed
to sneak a few in. Don’t tell anyone, ok? It’s our little secret…)
We were amazed at how many familiar places you get to see on the tour. Whilst you don’t get to see where her Madge actually lives, you get to see loads of other places;
The infamous entrance they use on official occasions (for instance Kate & Wills’ wedding before the photos)…
… and the throne room where they took the actual photos. I can’t tell you how tempting it was to vault over the wee guide ropes and jump onto the throne, just for the photo opp. Even though she would have disapproved I’m sure Liz could have had a word with her security, convincing them not to throw me out or give us a lifetime ban! (As an aside, I would look good sitting on a luxuriously appointed throne I think – one definitely needs to be installed for receiving guests in my future home/castle.)
There was also the White Reception room where the Queen meets with officials and the Prime minister each week, complete with secret entrance leading from the Queens personal rooms. Whilst were there, a special Diamond exhibit was on, celebrating the Queens’ Diamond Jubilee (which I will definately blog about in the future – it was AWESOME). The sheer beauty and size of the diamonds on display was staggering.
I loved the rocco decoration throughout the Palace. Though us plebs can’t get away with them as easily, everything was beautiful to the point that they had gold power sockets;
They had me laughing for hours. I’m just sad that I couldn’t get a photo of them (security was pretty darn tight) so I had to nick one from the interweb. After the beautiful suites and exhibition (which change all the time) we decided it was high tea time on the south lawn.
On the way out of the Palace, the grounds are perfectly kept specimens of British gardens – Downtown Abbey look on in shame. (In case you wondered what the lawn looks like during an actual Garden Party, check out my wrap up of the one I was invited to this year(!))
We popped into the Queen’s local, the Bag O’ Nails for a quick refreshing beverage, but seemed to have just missed her again… next time, Liz, and the round is on me!
We had such a great time, there are so many things to see – check out their website for details. Just to be clear, we weren’t sponsored in or anything, we just loved it so much it has to be added to any summer itinerary!
Now, if you could be a Princess/Prince (Disney or otherwise), which would you be? I think maybe I would be Princess Anne – she looks like good fun but doesn’t have the pressure the rest have.