Posts Tagged ‘Kate Middleton’

Trooping Queen

Trooping the Colour, also known as Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday Parade was held this past Saturday, 15 June. Her birthday is actually on April 21 but the celebrations are numerous and culminates with the “official” Birthday Parade. She turned 87 years old this year and seems to be going strong. Tickets for the Parade are given out by lottery which I wrote about a few months ago (click here). Although I did receive lottery tickets for the Colonel’s review practice ceremony the week prior, John was able to get tickets for the Official Birthday Parade. Tickets cost £30 each.

Trooping with Monument

The sheer number of Soldiers and horses was impressive. The parade included 19 officers, 626 soldiers, 225 musicians, 23 mounted officers, 219 mounted soldiers and 245 gorgeous horses.

Trooping two guards on horse back

Trooping white horse

Despite my allergies going crazy from the pollen and other unidentified particles flying through the air (London seems to be at the height of allergy season right now), I was thrilled to witness a British tradition that’s been going on since the reign of King Charles II (1660 -1685). In 1748, it was agreed the parade would be used to mark the official birthday of the Sovereign and it became an annual event as of 1760 during the reign of George III.  I enjoyed seeing the grandeur, the band (so fabulous!), the Soldiers, horses and, of course, seeing the Queen.

Colour (yes, I’m spelling it the British way) refers to the regimental flags of the British Infantry. Since the times of Kings of Babylon, the flags have been used as a rallying point for Soldiers. The Colour being trooped was the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards and, since the Queen was present, it was Queen’s Colour on parade.  Hope I got that right!

Trooping Queen III

The Queen has attended the parade and taken “the salute” since her accession to the throne ~ 61 years! Until 1986, she rode a horse to take the salute but since then, she’s taken the salute from the dais. Unfortunately, our seats didn’t provide a view of the dais.

Trooping Harry, Camilla, Kate

Trooping Kate, Camilla, Harry

Other Royal Family members participate in the ceremony as well. If you squint, as I did at the ceremony, you can see Kate (Duchess of Cambridge), Camilla (Duchess of Cornwall) and Prince Harry in the open-carriage. My understanding is this was Kate’s last public event until she gives birth.

Trooping Charles, Anne and William

Not a great photo but those mounted officers with the Blue sash(which signifies they are in the Order of the Garter) are as follows: On the far is Anne, The Princess Royal and a Colonel in the Blues and Royals.  In the middle is Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Colonel Irish Guards. On the right is Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Colonel Welsh Guards. They followed directly behind the Queen’s carriage.

Trooping Bunker seating

Trooping Best seats in the house

The Old Admiralty Building with the Bunker Seats and “hanging out the windows” seemed to provide great views.

Trooping Horses

The horses are beautiful and so well behaved. It’s obvious they are a bit spunky since they looked so pleased when they were finally able to do the “quick time” meaning then got to canter rather then walk pass the Queen.

Trooping Band on Horseback

The band sounded fantastic~ both those on foot and mounted. Have to say, I still don’t know how they play while riding horse back. Just riding a horse takes all my concentration!

Troooping Sea of hats and horses

There were hats and horses everywhere. I find it difficult to distinguish the different uniforms but I do know the blue plume on the hat means Irish Guards and the red plume means Coldstream Guards.

Trooping David Cameron

We didn’t have a good view of the Queen but David Cameron (Prime Minister) and other international dignitaries were close by.

Trooping Turning left

Trooping with sword

Wasn’t quite sure what the pointing of the sword meant since it was being pointed directly at David Cameron but John explained it’s like a turn signal. Ah, that explains it…

Trooping Logan

At the end of the ceremony, we couldn’t resist snapping a photo with a foot guard. My favorite quote of the day was Logan stating “They really are the Red Coats”

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We’re almost to the half way point of our living in London adventure & I already know I won’t want to leave this dynamic, exciting city. I feel like I finally have everything in place regarding the day-to-day living (utilities, banking, transportation) so now it’s all about exploring the city.

Our list of things to see & do in London, not to mention weekend trips outside of the city, seems to be growing rather than getting smaller ~ we keep getting wonderful suggestions. With 26 weeks left to go, it’s time to get serious about prioritizing. Problem is, I want to see it ALL! And sometimes I want to go back to the same place for a second look.

Yesterday, we went to The National Portrait Gallery. It’s located at St Martin’s Place, just off Trafalgar Square & behind the National Gallery on the right. There’s no entrance fee but I did rent the audio guide which is £3. The Gallery is set-up according to the year the painting was done,beginning with the Early Tudor period (1485). I loved the older portraits through to 1901, but was less interested in the more contemporary portraits. Somehow I missed the turn into several of the early 19th century rooms and didn’t realize it until I reviewed the gallery map when I got home. I missed the portrait of Jane Austen so I’m already planning a return trip.

This past Friday, the first official portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge was unveiled and has garnered a lot of strong opinions from the public. Seeing it up close and in person, my thoughts were that the artist put her in an awkward position. How do you tell a famous, talented artist you don’t like his portrait of yourself? If she complained, would the press skewer her for being vain? I’ve never seen Kate Middleton in person but the portrait showed dark circles and bags under her eyes which made her look much older than thirty. Or of a person who partied a little too hard the night before. Personally, I think it’s a poor portrayal of a vivacious, beautiful young woman and doesn’t capture her true essence for future generations.  Maybe the Duke and Duchess are happy with the “realistic” portrait of her and it really is only their opinion that matters but I can’t help but think there aren’t many options for them once the painting is completed.

It was early when we took the bus to The Portrait Gallery. We hopped off at the Charing Cross stop which is around the corner from Trafalgar Square and the Gallery. Early mornings in winter are proving to be the best time to see London without the large crowds.

View of Big Ben from Trafalgar Square

View of Big Ben from Trafalgar Square

Regents Street ~ heading toward Piccadilly Circus

Regents Street ~ heading toward Piccadilly Circus

Regents Street

Regents Street

Theater Royal Haymarket

Theater Royal Haymarket

Trafalgar Square Fountain

Trafalgar Square Fountain

Fountain in Trafalgar Square

Fountain in Trafalgar Square

The National Gallery

The National Gallery

Rocking Boy still on the 4th Plinth

Golden Boy still on the 4th Plinth

Lion at Trafalgar Square

Lion at Trafalgar Square

Leaving the Gallery, we walked around the corner toward Leicester square and finally made it to Wagamama ~ the portion sizes are huge and there are lots of vegetarian choices. I say finally because several friends recommended the restaurant chain to us before we left the states.

Wagamamas at Leicester Square

Wagamama at Leicester Square

Another reason I’m so happy living in London is, despite it’s size, it feels very safe. In the last few weeks, my daughter has been testing the honesty of her fellow Londoners. She left her phone on the tube a couple of weeks ago and  last week, she accidentally dropped her wallet. Thankfully, both items were found by nice gentlemen who contacted us via my phone. I’m listed as Mum in her contacts and as the “emergency contact” in her wallet. The man called me from Logan’s phone and I heard a deep voice of a grown man rather than my sweet girl on the other end. I’m sure he heard my confusion panic when I spoke because he quickly explained he found the phone on the tube. We’re very thankful for the kindness of others.

As I look at my London list and all my London guidebooks, I can’t help but agree with the quote:

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life……for there is in London all that life can afford.”- Dr Samuel Johnson, 1777

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