Greetings! As my study abroad experience is coming to an end soon, I am trying to make sure I do all of the things I have left on my London checklist! One of those goals was to see the Queen in the flesh, and this week, I finally got the chance! Every year, the Queen has an official Opening of Parliament, where she rides in her carriage from Buckingham Palace to Parliament building to deliver a speech. Usually, this session takes place in the fall however this year, since the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is upon us, the annual tradition took place in May. My two friends and I woke bright and early to get a good spot along her trail from Buckingham Palace, and despite the rainy London whether we waited street-side for about two hours for the Queen’s arrival. I was not sure what exactly to expect, and the whole thing turned out to be much larger than I even realized. The famous royal guards marched through the streets and then stood at attention along the way, there for show but also for protection. This is the closest one can really come to the guards anymore, and I must say it was rather fun to look at their crazy hats and analyze their still faces up close! Once the guards had marched their way into position (which took a while, I must say!) scores and scores of the Queen’s horses from the Royal Mews came down the street heading toward Parliament. Finally, horse-drawn carriages came parading down the street carrying members of the famous Royal Family, including Princess Anne, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Queen herself! As she rode past us all waving, it was amazing too see not only her but also the reaction her arrival brought across the crowed. It is not like seeing a typical celebrity, as men and women, children and adults alike, became so emotional upon seeing her, many even crying. Perhaps it is because she does not have the power to make any real political decisions, but the amount of love and affection her subjects have for her is way different than how American citizens feel about our leaders, including the president. It was amazing to see just how happy as well as proud people feel seeing her in person, and it made me appreciate her becoming the second monarch in British history to have a Diamond Jubilee that much more! Here is a picture of her riding past in her royal carriage:
Despite waiting in the rain for hours, the day as a whole was definitely worth it! After hearing and seeing so much about the Queen and her Jubilee during my time abroad, it was amazing to get to witness even the littlest part of it! The real festivities take place the second weekend in June, unfortunately after my time abroad is finished. I definitely look forward to reading all about the celebration online and seeing pictures though!