London Visitors want to know: Where can I see the Queen?

September 27, 2017

Everyone loves the Queen! One of the most exciting moments of a vacation to London is that moment when a visitor to this great city sees the Queen in person. Often his first comments when he returns home are WE SAW THE QUEEN. It is a souvenir like no other memory, and we all share those emotions and feelings. Last year, London Connection’s London manager Cristina smiled and said to me I WAS WALKING THROUGH LONDON AND THE QUEEN CAME BY IN HER LIMOUSINE. SHE HAS BEAUTIFUL EYES. There was that special softness in her voice as she told me of her experience; she knew I would say BEAUTIFUL. Over my many years in London, I have seen the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh as I have wandered from one part of London to another; and I have seen her at Royal Albert Hall at a concert, I have seen her at the Royal Opera House, I have seen her at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, I have seen her at Buckingham Palace when returning from Scotland at the time of Diana Princess of Wales’s funeral, I saw her at the wedding of William and Catherine when I bet she would wear yellow and got it right, I have seen her numerous times waving to the crowds on her official birthday from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, I saw her riding at Badminton House when she came to visit the Duke and Duchess of Beaufort, I have seen the Queen Riding in State as she welcomed foreign dignitaries whom she brings to the Palace in one of her magnificent carriages. But I have seen her most often leaving Buckingham Palace in either the Irish State Coach of Queen Victoria or in the new Australian State Coach on her way to the Palace of Westminster to open the new Parliamentary Year.

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If I were a London visitor, I know from experience that the best chance to see Her Majesty the Queen is along the Mall or Whitehall when the Queen leaves Buckingham Palace “In State,” wearing her George IV tiara, Queen Victoria’s massive diamond necklace, and the enormous pair of diamond earrings once part of the great ruby jewel from the Treasury of Lahore, and offering her warm smile and “royal” wave to the crowds from one of the great carriages. The impact of this moment is amazing. As I have often stood there watching this great scene, I have seen fathers with their children on their shoulders, I have seen children waving the Union Flag, I have seen older people who have loved this “symbol of Britain” all their lives shed a tear and give a gentle curtsy. I have seen London visitors watch the entire event through the lens of their cameras; it will certainly be their best souvenir.

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Over the years, I have wondered what it is that creates these profound feelings and such expressions. When William and Catherine married, it was a national celebration. It was a sense that all was well. When an heir to the throne is born, it is cause for a national celebration. Souvenir plates and cups record the event and fill London visitors’s suitcases. But when the Queen passes by in her State Coach, covered in historic jewels worn by sovereigns for centuries, offering a royal wave and giving the most amazing smile, something inside us says NICE.

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Let me suggest that London visitors check the date for the Opening of Parliament and the Queen’s Speech and include this event in their itineraries. Apart from the magnificent scene of the Queen’s “parade,” this event is the very best opportunity to see the Queen up close and have that one moment that is what dreams are made of. The Opening of Parliament always takes place during the week, so the crowds are smaller and perfect views are assured. Let me offer some planning details:

  1.  The Opening of Parliament and the Queen’s Speech usually take place in May; some years they are canceled altogether (2018), and political issues may require this event to take place during other months of the year. SO, be sure to check on the Internet when the event will take place.
  2.  Be to the Queen’s route to Parliament by 8:30 in the morning for a front row view.
  3.  The Queen will leave Buckingham Palace at 10:30 and will arrive at the Palace of Westminster at 11:15, punctual and spot on.
  4.  The Queen will give the Queen’s Speech from her throne in the House of Lords, the House of Piers, at 11:30 a.m.
  5.   The Queen always returns to Buckingham Palace down Whitehall and then down the Mall.

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I suggest you watch the Queen’s departure from Buckingham Palace for the Palace of Westminster and then watch the return to the Palace after the Queen’s Speech on Whitehall near the Cenotaph. That arrangement will offer amazing and different backdrops for the hungry and eager cameras like mine!

I enjoy a visit to London which is filled with amazing experiences; some I can plan while others I just find as I wander and talk and enjoy London and Londoners. But, I AM ALWAYS ON THE LOOKOUT.  I SEEK THE BEST OF LONDON AS I PEEL BACK LAYERS AND LAYERS OF GLORIOUS HISTORY.

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