Archive for the ‘United Kingdom’ Category

All of the media saturation surrounding the royal wedding this last week or so has reminded me of my one and only royal sighting. The Queen has come to Toronto a couple of times in my lifetime, but I’ve never made any attempt to be a part of the crowd at any of her public appearances. I’m not anti-monarchist per se, just anti-crowd. Of course, I had to travel all the way to London to find out for myself that the Queen is actually a real live person and not just a figure who appears on all the money in my wallet.

I was in London for a short layover on my way home from another country. I had one day to tour around and see what I could of a city I’d never been to before, but always wanted to. I was travelling with friends who had lived in London previously, and they graciously took me on a walk they’d given many times before, which took us to most of the famous sites in the city.

As we were walking down the Mall toward Buckingham Palace (and that is a long driveway, my friends), we noticed a lot of activity and people around. I seem to remember hearing “God Save the Queen” at some point as well. It occurred to me as we were walking that we were in London on the day of the 10th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, and I’d heard on the news that the royal family would be attending a service at a nearby chapel to commemorate this.

Sure enough, as we got up to the Victoria Memorial at the gates of the palace, we could see people lining the street, in anticipation of the royal family’s return. We had no idea when they were supposed to be coming, but we thought we’d wait a bit and see if they came.

Much to my delight, maybe ten minutes later, two policemen on motorcycles zoomed around the corner. I whipped out my camera and got the shot of my day: The Queen in her Rolls Royce with Prince Phillip beside her.

Prince Charles was right behind her in his own car, and I quickly snapped one of his car as well. I didn’t have great timing with that one, as the photo shows more of his driver and only a vague shadow in the back that I know is Charles, but his mother wouldn’t be able to tell. More cars sped by: Princess Anne, Prince Edward, Beatrice and Eugenie, and others I didn’t recognize. I didn’t see Princes William or Harry, but a large bus with dark tinted windows flew by, and we wondered if maybe they were in there, in order to be protected from public eyes on such a day.

I was in town for basically a day and was lucky enough to catch sight of the city’s best known residents. I’d had a brief, sweet taste of London and I can’t wait to go back again for more.


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