Today we made our way to one of the most notable images and icons of England: Buckingham Palace. It is the main working and living headquarters for the English monarchy, presently under the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Originally built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703, it than became a private residence for royal relaxation. Yet after a few other varying uses of the building, it eventually became the official residence of the monarch with the reign of Queen Victoria in 1837. It is now known internationally as an English icon and symbol. And how fitting that Queen Victoria’s Memorial*** is right outside the palace. She who made Buckingham the official residence of the English monarchy.
To be able to see it today was unbelievable. The sun was out and shinning, the weather warm and inviting. Viewing places, objects, or people through televisions, the internet, or pictures is one thing, it is another thing to see it in the flesh. Sometimes people are surprised at what they find when they view these places, objects, or people in the flesh. Sometimes it can be disappointing (for example the Mona Lisa in the Lourve is an extremely small portrait) or sometimes it can be an amazing experience.
We wandered our way through London, yet when I saw the golden angel of the Victoria Memorial shimmering in the sunlight, I knew we had reached one of my most anticipated sights to see. It was truly amazing. Though I must admit I was more awestruck at the golden angel atop the Victoria Memorial than the rectangular palace itself. The sun was out and the weather was beautiful today, making for the angel to shimmer in all its glory. Yeah it was great to actually hold onto the gate and know that Queen Elizabeth was inside at that exact moment. Certainly the closest I’ll get to royalty. Right before my eyes was the living and reigning place of several past monarchs as well as the present one. It was a symbol of strength and hope to the English during World War II, which amazingly left the palace unscathed in its implacable rage. It still maintains that symbolism today. In the distance were the guards in their vigilant watch and duty to protect her majesty. What a great sight!
After taking our pictures and videos we sat down on the steps of the memorial joining with a multitude of other tourists, observers, and students. Just to be able to sit there and admire the building, the memorial, and the weather was truly a great experience. I sat there and just began to gaze at the building and ponder while simultaneously watch people snap pictures and talk. Sometimes when seeing popular tourist sites I get caught up in just taking picture after picture and I lose appreciation for the site itself. Yet I was happy that I was to both take pictures and have time to be able to just sit and admire. Letting the sun gently beat on my skin, sit in admiration, and keenly observe, it was definitely worth the hike. Yet before we left to eat dinner we performed the obligatory act of throwing coins into the fountain adjacent to the memorial. With the splash of the coins we left the palace and its myriad of visitors and headed off to dinner, knowing that tomorrow holds an entirely new different experience and adventure.
***The Queen Victoria Memorial was unveiled in 1911 and completed in the 1920’s. It is a tribute to Queen Victoria, who as of today she is the longest reigning English monarch. She was an extremely popular monarch with a long reign. A golden angel stands at the top, with a sculpture of Victoria molded in at the base of golden angel. The Victoria statues faces north, with the angels of Truth and Justice facing west and east, and a statue representing motherhood facing south and Buckingham palace. Queen Victoria had 9 children, thus the maternity statue, along with symbolizing her maternity to the British empire.