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Visiting Buckingham Palace

Visiting the Palace of Queen Elizabeth II

sunny 20 °C

Buckingham Palace is only open for a short time every year while Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh take their annual holidays in Sandringham, Scotland. As we had visited many royal palaces on our long trip it was fitting to finish with the reigning Monachs Palace. We arrived at the allowed time of 11.30 am to be told we had to visit the Royal Mews and the Queen's Gallery first. We walked along the road to the Royal Mews not really knowing what we would see. First we got to see the royal state carriages. The ones that you see during royal weddings, Corinations etc. Also some cars on display. One of the Royal coaches quite modern designed by an Australian, as this is more roomy and comfortable it was the couch used for William and Kates wedding. We also got to walk through the emaculate stables, we saw some of the Queens horses being unloaded from a horse float. There were lots of horse paraphernalia on display from over the years all well polished. The best part of the Royal Mews was seeing the golden coach. This was so golden it glowed. It was well displayed with sculptured horses and riders. I could have stood there all day looking at it. After this we had some lunch in a restaurant we had already frequented. It was then off to the Queen's gallery. The gallery features art from the royal collections. This year the display theme was the Garden. The art works were chosen with this in mind. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were keen art collectors and often had art works commissioned. It was good to see some of these. Some of the Art work brought back memories of a trip to The Isle of White on a previous visit. There was some sculptures the one I liked the best was the boy with a prickle in his foot. There was a candelabra that came from Osborne House that looked like lillies. Getting into the Palace is like going through an airport. First you queau then your bag goes through a scanner. Geoff had to leave his backpack and collect it at the other side. We got a quided tour it felt a little unreal to be gliding up the stairs to the state rooms and actually being inside the palace. Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of British sovereigns since 1837. And today is the administrative headquarters of the monarch. The Palace has 775 rooms. They include 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedroos, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathroos. The Palace is the venue for Royal ceremonies, State Visits and Investitures all organised by the Royal Household. We got to see rooms only before seen in the media. The Royal state dining room was set up as for the Singapore Presidents visit, he had visited earlier in the year. The tables completely set along with name tags, flowers etc I got to stand right behind the Queens chair and see the room from her view point. On display was an interesting collection of gifts given to the Queen on State Visits, one was particularly colourful and amusing. I am sure it gave the Queen a good chuckle. They had various cabinets set up showing how the household runs, like the kitchen etc. I liked the dressmaker one showing materials still to be sewn and a frock that the Queen resently wore. There were also other dresses on display. A great experience for us to do this visit. No photos allowed as you would expect. Soon we popped out the back where the royal garden parties are held there were large posters showing former garden parties. Here there were large temporary seating areas and a cafe. We thought we had better partake of royal afternoon tea where we could look out on the lawn and Gardens where the Queen has more than likely walked her corgis. Grandma and Grandpa Wooderson were very excited to receive an invitation to a royal garden party in 1952. It would have been Elizabeth II first garden party after becoming Queen, she was crowned in 1953. Grandma writes in her dairy of going to buy her dress with one of the Aunts they stayed with in London. Grandma and Grandpa were on the boat to England when the news came of King Georges death. They lined up along the Mall to watch his funeral procession. After our afternoon tea we walked out through the gardens. Of course there was a shop you had to walk through. Then more gardens to walk through before popping out in a completely different place to the entrance. Managed to find an underground popped down and found our way to Kings Cross Station.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 07:50 Archived in England Tagged palace buckingham Comments (0)

"They're Changing the Guards at Buckingham Palace"

Geoff went down with Joyce to the Palace

all seasons in one day 20 °C

Wherever I go in England I seem to get reminded of songs with the place names. When out and about in London feel like I am making progress around the monopoly board. This morning after a sleepless night managed to sleep in. Not good when we had plans to see the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. We fast walked to Kings Cross Station to catch the underground. Had to figure out which train to catch. We realised we could catch the circular line. But which direction would be the fastest as our destination half way around. Our indecision at the beginning meant we had to wait another 10 precious minutes for the next train. It was frustrating watching the clock tick around as seemed to stop at endless stations. Soon we alighted near Hyde Park and had a fast walk through the park. It was a little wet but we had dressed for this. Managed to make it just in time. I managed to wriggle myself to the front though one man was taking up a mighty lot of room beside me. There are always crowds of people watching this. The last time we had seen this was almost 11 years ago. It was on our first trip over to the United Kingdom when our three daughters, their partners and two grandchildren lived and worked in England. We had arrived the evening before. All the family were camped out at Sharleen and Adam's home in New Malden. Katrina and family who lived out of London suddenly decided it was the changing of the guards and wanted to see it. We were out of the house in quick time and almost ran through Hyde Park to make it in time as well. Zara was barely 6 weeks old at the time. So back here we were. Just as they were to come into view wammo I had a selfie stick thrust right in my range of vision by a young girl standing behind. "EXCUUUUSSSEEE meeeeeee" said I with a glare. The offender disappeared. The man taking up a lot of room moved over a bit I think he thought I was talking to him. Well worth the effort of getting there to see the changing of the guards again. We then thought we would get tickets to see Buckingham Palace. You can only do this tour for a short time every year when the Queen is on her annual holiday to Sandringham and as we were in London thought it would be a good chance to do it. We queued for a good half hour for tickets even those who had bought tickets on line were in another shorter queue. We then found out that we couldn't do the tour till 1.30 pm. We decided to book for the next day. We headed down the road for lunch. Later on we headed back to our accommodation, had a rest, then glammed up to head to Prince Edward Theatre by the underground. We had left plenty of time to have a leisurely meal before seeing Miss Saigon. We found a Japanese Restaurant where the waitresses were dressed in saris. A short walk to the theatre another wine and soon the show began. We were able to shift seats when a tall person sat in front so ended up closer. We sat on the first tier. We never can work out the best place to sit. This was good as most of the action in the first half seem directly in front of us. The show was full of action and the sets were amazing, and the acting and singing were great. It was a very entertaining evening, we were pleased with our choice of show. Soon it was back out on the street on a pleasant evening into the underground and back to our accommodation. Another great day in London. We were enjoying London and as we had seen most of the main sites in London on previous visits so didn't feel pressured to be seeing everything. Sometimes it is nice just to wander around absorbing all the atmosphere.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 12:49 Archived in England Tagged the palace at changing guards buckingham Comments (0)

The Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh

Scotland's Royal Palace

rain

Just seen my big blooper from yesterday. Heading should have been Edinburgh Castle. We have been to Stirling Castle on a previous visit. We awoke and looked out the window to see lots of rain falling. After breakfast it was on with the coats and off to catch the bus into central city. The day before we had purchased tickets to cover the hop on hop off buses. Hopped back on these to get to the Palace. The Palace of Holyroodhouse stands in a spectacular setting at the foot of the Royal Mile. It has walled gardens and is surrounded by parkland. It has been a royal residence for over 500 years. Today the Palace is the official residence of Her Majesty The Queen of Scotland. The Queen had recently been in residence on her way to Balmoral. She spends a week here at this time every year to carry out official engagements. You can't visit here when the Queen is in residence. The State Apartments are also used frequently used by members of the Royal Family for events in support of charitable organisatios of which they are patrons. Apparently Princess Anne stays here a lot. We had a guided tour through this Palace. No photos to be taken inside. Sometimes these places can seem a bit gloomy due to very low light , deliberately used to protect tapestries and furniture etc dating way back in time. This place has a vast history. Of course a big mention goes to Queen Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary succeeded the throne on her father's death in 1542 when just a few days old. Mary grew up in France in the French courts after an attempt by Henry VIII to force the Scots to accept a marriage proposal between his son Prince Edward and the infant Mary. The young Queen of Scotland, a Catholic returned in 1561 to a largely protestant country. She lived in Holyroodhouse where many of the dramatic events of her short reign took place. After the opulence of the french palace she would have found Holyroodhouse to be quite plain. She married her second husband Lord Darnley in the chapel in 1565. Her Italian secretary David Rizzio was murdered by Darley in her private apartments. We were shown where this dreadful event took place. When you first get to the Palace you are greeted with the classic style Quadrangle, then you walk up the Great Stairs into the State Apartments. The very large dining table is set out like it is ready for an official visit. You get to visit the throne room which was plainly finished. Then the drawing room with its large tapestries. The King's bedchamber was very elaborate with lavish furnishings. The great gallery served many purposes over the years The Queen still regularly uses this room to carry out investitures for Scottish recipients of honours and for State banques, dinners and receptions. After the tour we visited Holyroodhouse Abbey. This building has been left as a ruin. The ruins make good photos. We then wandered around the gardens. It was showery. There was a rather nice cafe here with very good food we had lunch here. Afterwards we visited the Exhibition of royal paintings which we enjoyed.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 14:01 Archived in Scotland Tagged the palace of holyroodhouse Comments (0)

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