Archive for February 29th, 2016

Yes! It’s done. I am now a fully-fledged British Citizen. Last week Thursday I met up with my daughter at Ashford International and from there we made out way to Maidstone and the Archbishop’s Palace….wow, I had no idea the venue was so amazing! and the history. I was like a tourist going from room to room and photographing everything….almost, but not quite forgetting the reason we were there.IMAG1660 - maidstone

We arrived about 4 hours before the time of the ceremony so had a bit of an explore first and then looked for somewhere to eat….we found the superb D’Lishious – a new Milkshake & Dessert Parlour in the historic Corn Exchange.

By then we were fairly famished so decided to go for something substantial. Well, what can I say…..D’Lishious really lived up to it’s name. My daughter ordered a pancake with nutella and strawberries with ice-cream and cream while I ordered a waffle with banana, nutella, bits of toffee with ice-cream and cream.  The portions were truly substantial and absolutely delicious, freshly made and more than met our expectations.

After satiating our bellies we headed back into the town centre and from there to the palace. Along the way we passed the fabulous Maidstone Carriage Museum…located in the 14th century palace stables. Although it was closed; it’s seasonal, I for one am going back when it’s open. The building itself is amazing and of course we took loads of photos.IMAG1652 - maidstone

The Archbishop’s Palace was just across the road, so that’s where we headed. The palace is a stunning building with a fantastic history dating back to the 7th & 8th century, thankfully saved from demolition in 1887, it is now a Grade I listed building.IMAG1662 - maidstone  Needless to say we had to explore the area, so since we still had about an hour and a half before the ceremony we walked along the riverside of the palace and onto a nearby footbridge for a better view…oh my gosh it’s gorgeous.IMAG1680 - maidstone And what a location!! We stopped briefly at the College of All Saint’s founded in 1395 by Archbishop Courtenay and admired the nearby Church of All Saints; chock a block with history.

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Finally it was time for us to register our presence and so we entered the building. I literally bounced up the steps with excitement and met at the top by one of the staff my name was ticked off the list and a red carnation pinned to my lapel.  The reason for the carnation is to easily identify the soon to be new citizens from their guests.

Then it was into the Solar Room ….wow, the history. The Solar – The 14th century Great Chamber of the Archbishop’s Palace, the main timbers dating from 1325 making this the oldest part of the original palace still standing. Much of the rafters have been repaired or replaced.

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We settled down as much as possible and were greeted by various members of staff and moderators. A lovely lady by the name of Amanda spent a few minutes with us explaining the process and procedures and then suddenly it was time for our rehearsal and off we went.  The room where the ceremony was held was lined with chairs, new citizens one side and guests the other.

We entered the room to applause from the guests and with a buzz of excitement took our seats, and so the ceremony began.IMAG1699 - maidstone In no time at all we had stood to declare our names and swear allegiance to Queen and Country.IMAG1700 - maidstone I felt totally bemused and as my daughter said, I looked a bit shell-shocked….I was in a state of disbelief. After all these years, finally I had applied and before I even had time to think about it, it was all done and dusted!!IMG-20160225-WA0026 I got my certificate, posed for photos with a representative of The Queen as well as a representative of Kent County Council and then we all, in good old British tradition, retired for tea and cake 🙂

So yes, I am now a bona fide British Citizen…..it’s been 4 days and I still wake up in the morning and go “omg I’m a British Citizen”. It feels quite surreal and although I don’t feel differently, my head is still trying to wrap itself around the fact that in the space of no time at all, I went from being a South African citizen to a British Citizen.IMAG1721  Who would have known when I bounced through Johannesburg International Airport on the 8th October 2001 for a 4 month holiday in Ireland, that I would less than 15 years later be the citizen of a different country…..but so it is. And I am thrilled beyond words. I am a British Citizen!!

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a gift from my daughter when we got home that evening 🙂

More about the history of the Archbishop’s Palace.

Located on the River Medway, the site was given to Archbishop Langton in 1207 as a resting place for Archbishops on their way from London to Canterbury.  work on the current building was ordered by Archbishop Ufford in 1348 and by the end of the 14th century it was expanded by Archbishop Courtenay, and again enlarged and improved by Archbishop Morton in 1486. Ultimately it was given to Henry VIII who granted the palace to Sir Thomas Wyatt. Subsequently forfeited to the Crown in 1554 following the rebellion led by his son Thomas Wyatt the younger against Mary I and then given to Sir John Astley by Elizabeth I.


The Archbishop’s Palace on the River Medway in Maidstone

It was subsequently bequeathed to various members of the Astley family and finally sold to the Marsham family who finally sold the palace. It has also been used as a Territorial Army medical school.

Here’s a link for the carriage museum in Maidstone if you would like to visit


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