I’ve been to London to see The Queen
Much has been said and written about this past weekend. Many argued that it was a time for austerity, not lavish celebrations. Some saw it as a time for communities to come together and a much needed distraction from current hardships.
I’m not one for political debate and will leave it there. This is my account of a fabulous day spent outside Buckingham Palace celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Some time ago I vaguely recall entering my name into a ballot for something to do with the Jubilee. A couple of weeks ago an email turned up informing me I had been successful and that Adele and I were lucky enough to secure seats in the stands outside Buckingham Palace on Tues 5th June.
Last week the tickets arrived in the post and I was most impressed. How could I not go?
Up until then I felt rather ambivalent towards the whole Jubilee weekend. I’m not a Royalist, but grew up in a very Royalist family. Grandad served in the RAF during the WWII, and Granny did her part in the WAAF.
Our house is littered with Royal memorabilia from the Queen’s Coronation to Charles & Di’s wedding.
The royal wedding last year held no interest for me, but Elizabeth has been the Queen since I was born and to me that’s a little special.
Ten years ago I attended the Golden Jubilee celebrations in Green Park and had a great time.
Bit of an early start for a Bank Holiday weekend but arriving at Green Park station shortly after 8am I was confronted by hordes of people all decked out in their Union Jack finest. Flag, hats, scarves and pretty much anything else you could get a Union Jack on. My attempt at dressing for the day in blue jeans and bright red leather jacket seemed rather half-hearted.
After navigating our way around what seemed to be half of London we finally joined the queue for the stands.
Security was beefed up as expected and we had to produce 2 forms of ID (photographic and something proving our currently address). Metal detectors and bag scanners later I felt like I was off on holiday and making my way through an airport. No one attempted to fondle my goods though. Disappointing.
Finally at our seats and the true scale of the event became apparent. One word — WOW.
The thought of sitting in the stands for a full 7hrs wasn’t an appealing one. I mean just how much parading can one person handle?
Much to our surprise the day flew by. The weather was kind to us, so much so in fact, we both managed mild sunburn through the cloudy skies.
The big screens afforded us views of what was happening up and down Pall Mall, the service at St Paul’s and the lunch at Westminster Hall.
And as expected there was much parading. Guards, brass bands, horses and canons were all on show.
The open top carriages came past just as the skies started spitting but the royals were safely inside before it poured down.
We hadn’t realised the crowds that had been lining the Mall would be led down to fill up the space in front of Buckingham Palace. And what a spectacle that was!
The police did a marvellous job in controlling hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic supporters.
All these people here to show support and celebrate 60 years of Queen Elizabeth II on the throne.
After a short wait, there she was. The Queen appeared on the balcony surrounded by her immediate family.
The crowd cheered, there were hoorays and then “God Save the Queen” rang out. I all but burst into tears, very emotional and can only imagine how she must have felt seeing all those people there, in the rain, cheering excitedly … for her.