Of Queens and Horses
Our time in London is over we head off to Brighton today…look out England you have another American on the road and driving on the left doesn’t come natural to me. Hopefully my dyslexia will prove useful to me with the steering wheel on the right side of the car I’ll just automatically drive on the left? It’s a theory.
We’ve crammed a lot of sightseeing in these last two days including a tour boat ride down the Thames, Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedrals, Apsley House – home of the Duke of Wellington, the British Library with it’s wonderful collection of written antiquities including early papyrus scripture and Handel’s first draft of the Messiah, the Royal Mews and a stroll around Buckingham Palace.
At the Royal Mews we learned a lot about the Queen and royalty duties. This week she opened Parliament and there were some special Diamond Jubilee ceremonies at Windsor Castle. This meant the horses and some of the state carriages were not available for viewing. It explained all the helicopter activity overhead the other day. Her schedule is particularly busy this year. They are erecting scaffolding for a parade and viewing later this week all around Buckingham Palace.
This got me thinking, many little girls dream of being a princess or queen. Young boys may imagine themselves as valiant princes, knights or even kings ruling a great nation (especially in England). The children imagine it being a life of getting whatever they want whenever they want and no one says no to them. Reality reveals they really are lifetime prisoners they just have very fancy prisons. The Queen didn’t get the simple choices in life most of get. She wasn't allowed to decide what career she would have preferred doing. I wonder what she might have chosen…nursing, teacher, homemaker, pilot…had she been allowed to choose? She can’t go anywhere without armed escorts. People everywhere are really nosey about her life and critical of her, all the “Royals” really. That has got to be a truly heavy burden.
One cab driver told us that the queen has snuck out of the palace a time or two just to go to a movie. She waits until the movie starts and slips into one of the back rows. Every time she’s done it someone comments that she looks a lot like Queen Elizabeth to which she politely replies “Thank you, I’ve been told that before." as she leaves. If it is true I’d imagine it hasn’t happened for a long time given her age.
My favorite story of her came from the guide at the Royal Mews. He told us of some of the special activities they have at the mews for the children that live there including a visit by Father Christmas who brings gifts and gives sleigh rides. Then on Christmas morning the Queen comes down to the stables and gives each horse a special treat, patting each one and thanking them for their service. Oh and she personally names each horse when it is born. She looks at all the important events that happened that year, positive or negative, and gives each newborn horse a name based on that event/occurrence. It could be weather related like the Katrina storm or political or some other world significance…just thought that was cool.
Finally got a chance to look at this. Beautiful photos and enjoyed reading about your adventures so far. Will try and keep up!
God's blessings and safe travels!
You are such a good driver, I don't think you will have any problem. Unless you see something you want to photograph. Better keep your camera in the bag in the boot to be safe.
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