Almost from the moment I touched ground in London, I was blessed with what I would come to call “London Luck.” The entire experience of being in London seemed to be bathed in some benevolent power that would ensure things were going swimmingly. I had been in London for about six hours when my companion and I walked to Buckingham Palace. It being a Wednesday morning, barely noon, we were both a little taken aback by the huge crowds milling about, cameras at the ready. A peek through the crowds at the vaunted black and gold gates of the Palace showed what I assumed to be the Changing of the Guard. A magnificent spectacle no doubt, but was that enough to justify this huge crowd?
Police on horseback kept pedestrian traffic moving. Parts of the road between the Palace and the Queen Victoria monument were kept clear of all traffic. The flag flying atop Buckingham Palace was the Queen’s flag, indicating she was in residence (the Union Jack flies when Her Majesty is away.) My companion suggested someone may be arriving for an official state visit. I got out my camera and tried to capture some of the buzz of the scene.
Soon, the grand Palace gates opened and three Range Rovers roared out, instantly sucking along the crowd along with them, who were urgently snapping photos, trying to see who was inside the three cars. I was literally standing alone on a little patch in front of the Palace, watching the crowds start to leave because whatever the occasion, it had just ended with the departure of the three vehicles.
I looked to the Mall and there, flying her flag on her burgundy Rolls Royce, was the Sovereign. I stood agog, thinking only enough to take pictures. I got a series of several before I turned to my companion and said, “It’s the Queen!” Others then heard me, and then rushed for her, obscuring my view.
Next time I know to keep my mouth shut. Here is the series: (Note that if you click on the photo and magnify it you can see Prince Philip quite clearly and you can also see the Queen with her distinctive hat).
Later, at the Covent Garden market I would buy a little painting of her:
I have always loved Queen Elizabeth but now I’m just gaga over her. (I would be embarrassed to post pictures of all the Queen Elizabeth stuff and London stuff in general that I bought while there. I will say that leaving the Buckingham Palace gift shop, I spent so much money my bank became alarmed enough to contact me. I just feel good to have helped stimulate England’s economy.)
God Save The Queen!