This morning we arrived at Buckingham Palace over an hour early to see the Changing of the Guards. The crowds were already 4-5 deep at the gates, and we knew we wouldn't see much of the actual ceremony. The actual "changing" procedure starts at 11:30am, with some other stuff starting to happen at 11:15am. But we got the best spot we could, and proceeded to wait. Fortunately it was a beautifully sunny day. While we waited, we watched some men do a little "touching up" to the paint on the gates. I guess everything needs maintenance from time to time.
At about 10:45am, the Horse Guards rode by and went down the Mall, and few minutes later we noticed some activity inside the gates of the Palace. The crowd started cheering and all of a sudden some cars (including a Bentley with a flag on it) & security people drove by. In the car was a woman (wearing a hat) who was waving. I didn't see her face, but come on! Who rides in a Bentley, wears hats, and waves as she is driven from Buckingham Palace? I assumed it was the Queen. But it wasn't confirmed. Yet!
I didn't last through more than 5 minutes of the Changing of the Guard. Perhaps it was the poor view I had, or the thousands of people crushing me forward into the royal gates. Helen and I ditched Marc (with Sophie on his shoulders) and went to sit near the Golden Gates for a calmer scene and a bit more oxygen. When they finally joined us, I had been chatting with a woman from Germany, who had captured a picture of the woman in the car. Even though she was shooting directly into the sun, she captured a wonderful photo. It was clearly the Queen, waving to the crowd and sitting with Prince Phillip in the back of the car.
When the ceremony was over, Marc and Sophie joined us. We rested a moment or two and then got up to walk over toward Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. All of a sudden, the motorcade came into view again and we ran over to the road to get a better look. Sure enough, there she was, the Queen of England, back from her little jaunt and returning to the palace, waving to the crowds.
|Ok, my photo is blurry. But there she is!|
Of course Helen and Sophie are beside themselves that they got to SEE the Queen. Honestly, the were hoping to see Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge (good old "Kate" to them) but I think the Queen will do.
We basked in the gorgeous weather (after all, we know what we're in for when we head back to Finland on Sunday) and took in some classic London sights.
And since this is not a travel blog, there are knitting related things as well. I found an adorable hand knit purple Aran sweater on the lawn by the Golden Gates. I tried to find the little owner or her parents, but had no luck. Very sad!
I saw this easy-to-knock off chunky cowl at Buckingham Palace. I love it, and may just have to make one. I'm thinking Spud & Chloe Outer would be perfect.
And then I saw this gorgeous bulky shawl at Westminster Abbey. I'd make this one in Rowan Alpaca Cotton.
And then we found this really cool knitted bag with fringe and leather straps at the Michael Kors shop on Regeant Street.
But 195 British pounds? What the...!?!? For those of you not up on currency conversions, that is about $300! I'm seeing a much more reasonable DIY hand knit version in my future. It was double stranded, and I think Berroco Ultra Alpaca or Plymouth Galway would be great choices for this.
And look at all the yummy Rowan yarns at Liberty!
Here are the girls with Laura, who works at Liberty and was so sweet. (PS She's NEVER seen the Queen, so she made us feel special!)
|Only one shopping bag, and small. I showed serious restraint.|
And I knit all the way home.