Back in 1997 my parents and I went to Canada. Though I was really young I remember standing on a busy sidewalk with a bunch of people just watching an empty street. I only really remember my dad dragging me around, being tired of standing, and sick of waiting for nothing. He kept saying someone important was coming.-someone named “the queen”. I didn’t care I was only 3 or 4 and my “legs were tired”. But as a singular car passed the crowd burst into applause. The person in the car was Elizabeth II. She was on her official tour which included a long stop in Canada. Who knew 17 years later I would voluntarily be doing the same thing: trying to catch a glimpse of the queen and the royal family.
This past Saturday we had nothing on the agenda so we all finally got a chance to sleep in. I woke up, read a few text messages, and as usual went through my social media ritual: Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, and even the occasional flip through Facebook. On Instagram I follow the British Monarchy’s official page and that morning were putting pictures of some event taking place outside Buckingham Palace. I turned on the TV to discover the BBC was having live coverage on the Trooping the Colour (that is the correct spelling over here). This was the event I saw on Instagram. Trooping of the Colour is the official birthday celebration of the reigning monarch. Regardless of whenever the monarch’s birthday is, this ceremony takes place in summer (usually in June). It’s held in June because the weather is nicer and gives the public a better chance of attending and viewing the event. The ceremony begins at the House Guards Building with different military and house guard rituals. The monarch and some of the royal family then proceed to ride around the mall which leads to the conclusion at Buckingham Palace. Then the entire royal family goes onto the balcony at the palace and awaits a fly over.
I looked up the schedule of events and discovered the fly over was going to be at 1 pm. I texted some of my friends and we raced on over. It was little past 1 and we missed the fly over and the appearance of the royal family. Basically the entire ceremony was over-but that did not matter to us. We were stuck at a cement gate in the park which I climbed on so that I could get a picture of the decorated palace. I climbed on it to only get scolded by park police on horseback. We then made our way through the narrow gate and were finally at the circle of Buckingham. Though most people were leaving we decided to stay because a large number of people were lingering around and police were still surrounding the streets. The streets were still clear and no one was allowed to pass. So we figured maybe someone or something was still going to happen. Whether someone royal was going to grace us with their presence through a passing car didn’t matter to us. You could feel the energy of the crowd and the surrounding area. It was a joyous event for the British. Some of the men in the crowd were dressed in traditional suit and top hat. Some woman were dressed in nice dresses with fancy hats. The mall was aligned with huge British flags and the palace was decorated. It was the simple pleasure of knowing you were partaking in a national event-feeling like somewhat of a local. We decided to linger around and see that maybe someone or something was going to happen. We saw a remnant of horses and canons make their way back from the procession but that was about it. Until a few flashing motorcycles came out of the palace gates with a car behind them. In the car was the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall aka Charles and Camilla. Though it was for a couple of fleeting seconds we could clearly see them as they waved. We saw the future King of England and his wife. After that we decided to hang around and take a few pictures. But our day wasn’t quite over. We than decided to walk the River Thames to only run into nude bicyclists. Coincidentally there was a nude bicyclist “marathon.” A bunch of bicyclists stripped down to nothing and rode through a designated path through London to call for more bicycle lanes on the streets and call for cyclist awareness. A news article on the marathon can be read here. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/could-britains-largest-nude-protest-3698398
It just goes to show the power of social media. If I never saw pictures on Instagram then I would have never have known about the event and would not have had the chance to catch a quick glimpse of England’s future king.
From the royal family to nude cyclists in one day. Is it ever a dull day here?