Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The day I got to see Her Royal Majesty, The Queen

When we first moved here, 13 1/2 years ago, I naively thought we'd be tripping over the Royal Family in London. Let me assure you, that is not the case. I had a false alarm in 2005, when I THOUGHT I saw the Queen at the Marathon Expo, when I was collecting my number, but it was not to be. So I've never seen anyone remotely royal. I've never even seen a minor royal, like Princess Michael of Kent.

(I'm not counting the time I got my picture taken with the picture of the Queen when we earned our British citizenship last year. Or, for that matter, any millions of times I've seen the queen on money or on stamps. Those times don't count.)

That all changed today.

Queen Elizabeth II was in Greenwich to reopen the Cutty Sark, go the Maritime Museum and finally to have lunch at the Queen's House. The queen to which the name refers is not her, but instead to Queen Anne, James I's wife. But I do think it's a nice bit of symmetry when the Queen is at the Queen's House.

I thought I was going to miss all the hoopla, because I had an exam scheduled for the late morning, bang in the middle of all the visits. But my friend and I were on our way back when I saw a group of people waiting out front of the Queen's House. I also spied this police motorcade security detail, so I figured she hadn't left yet. We made a beeline over there. Thinking I had missed my chance to see the Queen in person in the morning, I was thrilled that I was actually going to see her in the afternoon.

It was a nice group hanging about at the end of the Queen's visit. I'm sure most people went to the Cutty Sark celebrations and then returned home. The rain also arrived with a vengence, so I think that also contributed to the "We're all in this together" spirit while we waited for Her Majesty to appear.

Among the group was this really sweet girl who wanted to deliver this bouquet of flowers. She was hoping the motorcade would stop at the end of the gate so she could deliver them. The police officer in charge told her that was very unlikely, but she still remained optimistic. (You might be able to get an idea of how hard it was raining by looking at the umbrella.)
After a 45 minute wait, which actually didn't feel that long, the Queen finally emerged from the Queen's House and got in her special Range Rover with the special flag, indicating that she's inside. Here they are, making their way up the path in front of the Queen's House. She is in the back seat, on the left-hand side, wearing red and a fetching hat. My heroine.
I didn't take a picture of her actually passing by, because I wanted to concentrate on actually seeing her and waving, as opposed to taking a picture. Prince Phillip was on our side, and I have to say, he looked very good, particularly after his heart scare at Christmas.

So I've now seen the Queen, and in her Diamond Jubilee year to boot. It was worth getting absolutely soaked to do so. 

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