It was a lovely Friday morning, and despite waking up with a horrible backache, I was up for a walk to Buckingham Palace. Why not see the changing of the guard? That, and a few Advil should make me feel better. So off we went. The Palace is in our hotel neighborhood, and so we shouldn’t have been surprised to run into the Horse Guards Parade on their way to Buckingham. Once we got to the Palace, we found a position quite close to the gate.
Then again, that’s the thing when you live in London. All the pomp and pageantry is just down the road a bit. And no one does pomp and pageantry like the Brits.
The London Metro police were out in full force at the Palace. I have an affinity for law enforcement, and so the mounted policeman nearest us and I had a long chat. We talked about his beautiful horse (male, no mares for ceremonial purposes because they come in season, it’s messy AND they’d be flirting with the male horses.)
“Well, it would make for an more interesting processional,” I observed.
“What could me more interesting than this?” he asked. And he’s right. He’d been to California, asked about our trip and marveled that we were only staying in London a week this time.
“Nice of you to come all this way to see some history, since your country’s got none,” he laughed.
“Our history is HERE!” I told him.
“Are you Irish?” he asked. Ummm. No. Anyway, we chatted for quite some time. Then, he and his horse moved away and a few motorcycle cops shot out of the gate in front of us, followed by the Queen, who was heading over to open the new BBC building. It took us by such surprise I didn’t get much of a video off, but here’s the Queen, 10 feet from me, in her car, wearing a lovely hat and a smile. You can barely see her in that first car, it’s so quick.
“I recognized her right away,” M. told me. “She looked a lot like Helen Mirren.” LOL
Finally, though, the changing of the guard was accomplished with lots of beaver hats, red uniforms and horns. Here’s the band that marched by us entering the gates of the palace.