Royalty and Remembrance

Our second day in London continued filled with royalty and commemoration. After we visited Kensington Palace, we headed to Westminster Abbey for evensong at 5 PM.

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The Abbey is the site of so many important events – coronations, weddings, funerals, special services. I love the quote to the left of the door.

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Just the day before, there were services of remembrance for the people who died in the Westminster attacks two weeks ago. Prince William and Kate and Prince Harry were the royal representatives and William laid a wreath at the memorial just in front of this quote.

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The memorial is to innocent victims of oppression and violence.

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Prince William’s card says “In memory innocent lives; lost to us all on 22nd March 2017.”

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It was so neat to come here for evensong services. They are such a beautiful way to start an evening.

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I love the way the priest offers prayers for protection during the night. And the choir singing! Kim just turned to me with the biggest eyes when the choir started singing – today from Sidney Sussex College at Cambridge.

You can’t take photos inside the Abbey, but one of the clergywomen told me that there are photos to download on the Abbey site. So here you can see what it looked like as we entered. The tomb of the unknown soldier is surrounded by poppies.

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You can’t tour Westminster Abbey during or after evensong, but there is much to see as you walk along towards the altar to your seats. We were directed down the left side of the aisle, where we could see the tributes/graves of famous scientists. Newton’s grave is set in the choir screen on the left. He is lounging on his side holding his apple.

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And Darwin is on the floor  in the aisle to the left.

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We were seated in the nave at the choir in the Quire. Wow! When we left, we walked out through the Quire and saw all of this.

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I love when the priest starts all the prayers. And the Queen and her family always included!

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I must confess I sort of ruined the final prayers as I was seized with a coughing fit I tried to suppress, which made it worse and worse. And the acoustics that made the choir sound so amazing made my coughing fit so loud and terrible! There was no place to go where you couldn’t hear me.

Apologies, Westminster Abbey! I am so sorry!

But evensong really was unforgettable.

We left the Abbey and then took another iconic walk with St. James park to the left and Churchill’s World War II bunker offices to the right.

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The War Rooms are right by Whitehall and Horse Guards Parade. No Queenie on her horse right now, but so beautiful. The Trooping of the Colours for her birthday happens here in June.

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We had to be content with all the books we looked at in Kensington Palace.

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And one of my favorite photos of her at 90. 90!

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Just pass Whitehall and the Horse Guards Parade, there is a memorial to policemen and women.

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So many flowers were laid here in honor of the police officer who died two weeks ago in the Westminster attacks.

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Then we walked up through Admiralty Arch at the top of the Mall. I just looked it up: it was constructed at the order of King Edward VII as a memorial to his mother, Queen Victoria. I never noticed the Latin inscription before!

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Then through the arch to Trafalgar Square again.

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No one can resist those lions at the base of Admiral Nelson’s memorial column.

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Kim and I went to dinner and then just one more hit of history and royalty: the National Portrait Gallery is open until 9 PM on Thursdays!

I love to look at those faces of history. Poor Queen Mary, half-sister of Elizabeth I. She never looks happy!

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But wow is that Queen Elizabeth something! From her youth . . .

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To a knowing look in middle age . . .

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To a Faerie Queen as she entered her final years . . .

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In the contemporary galleries, Kim and I loved this portrait of the Queen with her mum and dad and Margaret – it makes us think of that wonderful movie “A Royal Night Out” about the two princesses enjoying VE day outside the palace among the crowds. What a neat picture of their home life.

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And apologies for my photography skills – this was such a wonderful portrait of the Queen painted more recently.

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And finally a little controversy with the woman-who-will-be-queen, Kate. Some people have protested that this portrait is too photographic and not flattering. But reports also say Kate really likes the portrait. And she is the Royal Patron of the National Portrait Gallery, so she should have the last word!

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And here’s the image of Diana featured at the Portrait Gallery right now.

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So much to reflect upon and remember around every corner in London!

2 thoughts on “Royalty and Remembrance

  1. From Westminster to the Diana exhibit–everything looks amazing. You had wonderful weather. Downton Abbey, I mean Highclere Castle, please!

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    • Highclere/DA coming up on Thursday so you’ll have to wait just a bit longer. So far everything going to plan so hope that one works out okay, too! We are really excited about it!!

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