The Queen and the Castle …
Posted June 17, 2009on:
So Saturday was supposed to be the Windsor and Eton daytrip that the program set up for us. We all woke up real early, got ready for the trip, and headed over to where the bus meets us. What we didn’t know is that our tour guide had other plans for us. It was the Trooping the Colours day, also known as the Queen’s public birthday. Even though her real birthday is sometime in April, they have a big celebration in the summertime to celebrate it. Our tour guide told us that instead of going to both Windsor and Eton, if we wanted to, we could go to the Queen’s birthday, and then to Windsor, leaving out Eton. This was definitely something that we all wanted to do, because the only thing in Eton is a prestigious boy’s school, nothing too exciting. We were able to get pretty close spots to the road, and watched the processional as they went toward Parliament. First there were bands, and soldiers, many platoons of them. Then was a band riding on horseback which was pretty cool. I couldn’t imagine having to do that but they did it with ease. Finally towards the end, the Royal family passed us by, including Prince William and Prince Harry. People were clapping for the Queen and the Duke as they rode past in a horse drawn carriage. After the main part of the processional passed us, we had to go to get to Windsor. Apparently afterwards, there are other ceremonies including a gun salute, and the processional passes back by everyone on the street, but instead of separately, all together, creating one big massive band. It is quite the experience even though we only got to see a little of it. I was very excited that we were able to go. We did get back onto the bus after that though, and headed over to Windsor to see the other castle that the Queen likes to stay at.
We got there, and the castle was just gigantic. There were a few areas closed off to us, but the part that we were able to see was pretty crazy. There were walls and gardens everywhere. We got to go into one area where the dollhouse was displayed, and it was like nothing I have ever seen before. The house was huge to begin with, with running hot and cold water. There were cars, furniture, gardens, and even hand knit quilts with the tiniest little stitches in it. Apparently it took years to build and prepare to be set on display at this castle. There were other displays of the china of the castle, many cabinets worth, and more artwork from a Henry the VIII exhibit. When we entered the castle, there was a British flag flying, which means that the Queen is not residing in the castle somewhere. Once we left though the queen’s flag was flying. Apparently in the few minutes we were marveling over the doll house and china, she slipped in fairly secretively and they changed the flags to announce her arrival. Some people actually got to watch it happen from our group which was probably pretty cool to see, knowing it meant that the queen was stepping into the castle as that was happening.
Once we were through with the castle, we left and headed back to Kensington, where I live. Instead of going straight back to the dorms though we walked over to Kensington gardens and decided to relax in the grass and read. That didn’t last too long though because within 20 minutes, Gina and I were both fast asleep. It was very relaxing, and I woke up refreshed. After watching people and their very well behaved dogs for a little while longer, we headed back to the dorms for the night.