I’m sitting here at home watching the continuation of the Queen’s birthday celebrations on TV. Today it’s the Patron’s lunch with a parade down the Mall. I have only watched five minutes of this so far and so cannot judge, but the Queen seems to be enjoying it.
I was there yesterday to watch the Trooping of the Colour ceremony. My plan was to get to The Mall by at least 9. It did not happen. It was past 10, by the time I got to Westminster. From the station, I walked down Whitehall and it looked like the roads leading to the Horse Guards Parade were cordoned off. A few minutes later, as I was walking back , I realised that the road actually was open. As I reached the Horse Guards road, the Kings troop, the Royal Horse artillery came down the road with the six guns that they were pulling. Six horses are attached to each guns. Apparently it is exactly how it was during the First World War. The colour being trooped this year belongs to 7 Company Coldstream Guards. They do both operational duties and ceremonial duties. The last time they did the ceremonial duties were in 2012. Operational duties include duties in Iraq and Afghanistan amongst other places. The troops lining the Mall were from the Irish Guards.
Once they had passed, I crossed the road and walked past the Horse Guards parade. There was a huge crowd there, waiting for the Queen to arrive, and as I had already seen all this last week, I did not stop to watch. I walked along the path past St James’s park to the Mall. As I was approaching the Mall. I could hear the cheering crowds as the Queen rode past. By the time I got to the Mall, some of the crowds had dispersed and I found a good spot to stand and wait to see the Queen when she returned to Buckingham palace after taking the salute. So there I stood for almost an hour reading the paper and listening to the jolly crowds around me. The hour soon passed. I read in the paper today that some people queued almost 5 hours to get a good spot. There was no way I could have done that, even if I had taken one of those foldable camping chairs. You can see what I saw on my YouTube video, which was edited for me by my brother. It is a bit out of sequence, because I did not send the videos to him in the order I taped it. My hands were shaking by the time the parade started. I don’t know if it was because of the excitement or because of tiredness, maybe a bit of both. So the shot of the carriages with Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and the Duchess of Cornwall and the following carriages did not come out well and had to be discarded. After the parade, most people walked down the Mall to see the Royal Airforce fly past and to see all the Royal family gather on the famous balcony. I had a good view of the parade and balcony and luckily the rain kept away till I got back home. This must be one of the biggest spectacular free shows around.
Regarding the Patrons lunch which is just finishing on the TV, Darcy Bussell has just come on the parade to perform the finale. To me this seems to be the only part I think was enjoyable from what I have seen so far. Tomorrow we can read what everybody else thought about it.