Posts Tagged ‘Queen Elizabeth II’

I went to Windsor to see The Queen! ūüôā ¬†Yesterday was Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday, and as soon as I discovered she was due to do a walkabout in Windsor I made my way there double quick. ¬†Well not quite….I slept over in London at the YHA the night before ūüėČ

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Chelsea Bridge and the Albert Bridge in the distance

I set off for London on the 18:57 train to Victoria Station, slept over at the Earls Court YHA, up and about by 6am on Thursday….and by 07:38 I arrived in Windsor. Thrilling stuff.

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The Queen: A full-scale replica of the GWR Achilles built in 1894. No examples of these locomotives survive and were withdrawn from service in 1912. This model is located on the platform of the station at Windsor Central

The reason I got there so early was to ensure I found a good space at the front…these events fill up pretty darn quick, but to my surprise there were only about 40 people ahead of me! I wandered about for a bit, checking out this spot and that, and then finally made my decision: it had to be facing the castle and it had to be in shade and I was hoping Her Majesty would walk down my side of the road….

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Not yet much of a crowd, but a few stalwarts were there as well as a group (the ladies in pink with the big pink 90 balloon) from Cardiff, who apparently left their city at 6am

I settled in and quickly made friends with the people around me. We chatted and swopped stories, where we were from and why we were there etc. We also had a very entertaining couple of hours people watching.

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See the lady directly in the middle with the British Flag glasses! She held court and entertained the crowds….an American lady, she was loud, forward and hilarious!!

One of the first people I saw was Carol Kirkwood doing a piece to camera for the BBC News

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our lass Carol Kirkwood doing a piece to camera for BBC News with a Town Crier watching on – this was at 07:46 in the morning ūüėČ

and then Terry Hutt; one of The Queen’s lifelong fans. ¬†When I saw Terry’s outfit I realised I need to up my game…. LOL

As the crowds swelled and the time drew near the level of excitement escalated. Suddenly we saw Joey!!! The horse from the play War Horse. That was an added thrill to the day.

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Joey; War Horse joins the celebrations

Then just before 11am the Coldstream Guards arrived for Changing the Guard in the castle grounds.

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The Coldstream Guards – Changing the Guard at Windsor Castle

They marched them up the hill, then marched them down again…..to just beyond the gates where they made themselves comfortable and played some stunning pieces of music…they really are very good.

Then at 12noon and without further ado Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II arrived in her smashing Bentley and stopped just before the welcome party. After being greeted by the Mayor(ess) and assembled guests, to my absolute delight I saw that Her Majesty was walking down our side of the road!!! OMG!!! Hoorah.

Then I started praying that she wouldn’t do her zag before she got to where we were standing, which would have given me the zig!!!

But she didn’t and I did get to see her – from just two feet away. If I wasn’t filming I swear I would have swooned with sheer excitement…..but you can’t interrupt a good opportunity to film The Queen by passing out in the street. LOL

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Looking fresh and sprightly in spring green – I loved her hat!!!

However, I did almost lose my footing….as she got near the crowd behind swooped forward and I was nearly knocked off my feet, almost dropping my camera in the process…the barrier suddenly felt very flimsy as it swayed with the weight of the crowd. It was a little bit scary, and I wasn’t impressed with that at all. However, we managed and my word the roar of excitement when she arrived…fantastic.

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the crowd surges forward….

She looked absolutely stunning in her spring green outfit with a perfect hat perched on top of those lovely grey curls, a gorgeous smile on her face for the whole time. Amazing woman.

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Her Majesty; Queen Elizabeth II born this day in 1926 at 21 Bruton Street in Mayfair

As soon as she made her zag to the opposite side of the road,

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The Queen makes her zag and away she goes to the opposite side of the road

my companion (someone I got chatting to whilst waiting), and I ran down the side alleys to the Guildhall hoping to spot the birthday girl before she left on her ride around the city. ¬†While at the Guildhall she met other people who were 90…how cool is that! ¬†Mind you, in comparison to some of my clients, many of whom are a lot younger than HM, she is blooming marvellous and certainly very sprightly.We were in luck, the crowds hadn’t yet swelled to bursting point and I had a great view of the steps where she was due to walk down to her open-topped car.

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Standing in their open-top car they set off for the car route through the city

We were all amazed to see The Queen and Prince Philip actually standing in the car as they set off. ¬†They waved and smiled as the car pulled out and then we ran helter-skelter to the back entrance of the castle, again ahead of the crowds and had a fab view of them returning. They had by that stage sat down in the car, but I still managed one final photograph…..

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arriving back at Windsor Castle by a rear entrance

What a splendid day. I have seen the Queen a number of times, but always from afar. Usually at Trooping the Colour or other such events, and once we saw her up close and personal in Cape Town the last time she visit South Africa in the 1990’s. At that time she also went walkabout, but did her zag just three people before she reached where we were standing and I remember how devastated I was then that I hadn’t got to shake her hand…she still used to shake the hands of people in the crowd in those days….but sadly I didn’t and although I didn’t get to shake her this time either, she was so close I could have kissed her!!

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Wishing Her Majesty a wonderful 9oth year, and Long May She Reign!!

20160421_132536 - HB QEII 21.04.2016God save our gracious Queen!
Long live our noble Queen!
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the Queen.


Other people I got to see on the day

After the event I went walkabout myself and had the luck of seeing the band returning to base

Then it was a quick trip back to Broadstairs (3.5 hours!!) to watch one of 1,000 beacons lit in the U.K. and around the world in honour of her birthday.

The Queen lit hers at Windsor Castle at 7p.m.

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The first beacon to be lit by The Queen at Windsor Castle

In all a fantastic day……I guess I am a confirmed Monarchist…and a Royalist. Fact: I love The Queen. She has been the one constant in an ever changing world. She is a great example of a good Monarch. I just read this terrific article you may enjoy.20160421_133700 - HB QEII 21.04.2016

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Katie, Katie give me your answer true, I’m half crazy just for the love of you.
It was a stylish marriage, We used my granny’s carriage,
and you looked sweet, good enought to eat,
so glad you said I do!

william and catherine royal wedding 29 april 2011

the newly married couple; Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - William and Catherine

The big day had finally arrived, one of the most anticipated events in the last 30 years!!!   At first light the campers started to wake, spectators began to arrive and the dust rose into the air in swathes!!!  and we kept an anxious eye on the weather!!
As the morning progressed the excitement mounted and the crowds swelled.  They had been expecting an estimated crowd of 600,000 on the Processional route, in the event it swelled to over 1million!
I do believe that the reality of the importance of the occassion had started to sink in as the day wore on and as the excitement set in……this was our future King who was getting married!¬† Diana’s eldest son and 2nd in line to the throne! How could you not be there!!!
The Mall was closed off, the Metropolitan Police, lunch packs in hand, started spreading out into their marked positions.  Armed-Police marched by, some heading for the roof of Buckingham Palace, snipers and marksmen all positioned on the corners of the Palace roof.  Suddenly we noticed that the Royal Standardwas aloft!

royal wedding william and catherine royal standard

The Royal Standard

 Reporters reported; interviewing anyone they thought looked suitably attired or somewhat crazily quirky- and there were many to choose from!!  Street sweepers went by to roudy applause, the crowd cheering anyone who walked by.  We had Mexican waves, we had cheering, we had more and more people trying to squeeze into tiny spaces, the flag waving increased in intensity and the volume of sound swelled to deafening proportions. And you did not dare to leave your place to go to the loo!!!
Suddenly¬†the music from the Abbey burst forth from the speakers lining route and we cheered!¬† And then the procession began………
When the first of the Mounted Police rode by the sound swelled, when the Marching bands went by, the cheers escalated, and when the first of the Royal Family; Princes William and Harry left Clarence House the crowd roared!
With frequent glances at watches or phones, we impatiently awaited the girl whose day this was! Our Kate! Our Queen in waiting!! The excitement built by the second and we watched anxiously for the flags at the top end of the circle to start waving and for the crowds to start cheering.   The Mall was filled with Marching Bands, Mounted Police, Regiments of the Crown, cars and coaches; Ambassadors, Minor Royals, and then Tah Dah!!! the Queen and Prince Philip went by and the crowd cheered,

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Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip on their way to Westminster Abbey

flags waving energetically. Suddenly time had marched on and there was the car with the Maid of Honour; Pippa Middleton and the bridesmaids, and now we knew for sure that within seconds the girl we had been waiting to see with bated breath and rising anticipation was on her way.  The excitement rippled like electricity through the crowd!!
And suddenly the level of sound rose with an enormous roar!!!! Kate was on her way! And finally there she was, looking radiant and exquisite, every inch a Royal Regal lady; born for this position.. smiling beautifully behind her veil she elegantly waved with evident happiness!  Her father beaming proudly at her side.   The crowd cheered and cheered, tears flowed and we all had one thought on our minds; her future.  There she was, one of us, and within the next hour she would be one of them!  Our future Queen-in-waiting, and she looked it!

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the bride; radiant and beautiful - Kate Middleton

Within seconds the car was gone, enroute to Westminster Abbey and the moment her life would change irrevocably!¬† She would soon become one of the most photographed and talked about women in the world, on a par with our Diana and we all loved her!¬† Loved her because she had brought a sparkle to William’s eyes, a lovely girl who loved him, and it showed!
As the music flowed from the speakers the crowd fell silent and you could almost hear a pin drop as the crowds waited for the ceremony to begin.
Next we heard the voice of the Archbishop of Canterbury; and as William said ‘I will’ the crowds cheered, but that was nothing compared to the roar of the crowd as the soft trembling of Kate’s response came through the loudspeakers. Deafening!¬† She said ‘I will’ and the country roared!¬† What a brilliant moment; a historical moment, a moment that set the seal on a future that we can only imagine, and never truly comprehend! And I was there!! I will never in all my life forget the feelings and the emotions I felt in that moment, and as she said ‘I will’ the sun shone out from behind the clouds, just a short burst and I knew that Diana was there!!!

The rest of the service passed in a flash as we sang the National Anthem and then the¬†words of ‘God Save the Queen’ rang out, voices raised in lusty jubilation, patriosim at it’s very best.¬†¬†Soon the formalities were over and as¬†they left the Abbey,¬†once again the sun shone out, the rays no match for the smiles on the faces of these two young people, happily in love and happy together!! William proud, and Catherine, as he had said at the altar; “beautiful”.
The exhuberation as the carriage procession made it’s way along the Mall to Buckingham Palace,¬† along the Processional Route was electrifying, powerful and emotional.¬† ¬†I got so excited by the magnificence of the horses, barely controlled at galloping-trot or whatever style of motion it is called; overwhelming!¬†¬† You could feel the energy of the moment, the sheer power as the carriage swept by, preceded by these magnificent creatures that looked as if they would break loose at any second!

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all the Queen's horses and all the Queen's men...........

¬†The smiles, the radiance of the bride, regal and royal, the elegant wave of a dainty hand and the pride on William’s face!
All too soon they were gone, followed closely by the rest of the wedding party; Pippa and the bridesmaids, Prince Harry and the page-boys, the Queen and Prince Philip in their glass coach, then Charles and Camilla with Mr & Mrs Middleton, and then the coaches with other members of the Royal Family.
Once they were all safely tucked up inside, a wave of humanity surged along The Mall, controlled, yet eager, thousands of people preceded by Her Majesty’s forces heading for the Palace.¬† It’s is a sight so surreal, it’s hard to imagine. The crowds moved inexorably forward and the crush became almost too much to bear as people surged forward in their desire to stand below the balcony where the newly-married couple would soon appear.

a mass of humanity along The Mall; heading for the Palace for the balcony scene

   I so remember the moment Diana and Charles stepped out onto that balcony almost 30 years ago and the feeling that came with it, and now here I was just metres away about to watch her son step onto that same spot his parents had stood all those years ago.
And of course the main reason for the excitement………..the kiss!!!!! Would they? Or would they not? But they did, and the crowd went wild, kiss her again they cried and he did, to a roar of approval and jubilation like no other!

royal wedding, catherine and william, duke and duchess of cambridge

the newly weds - William and Catherine; the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

The heavy drone of the fly-past competing with the roar from the crowds; and then it was all over.  The Royal Family, preceded by the Queen left the balcony to continue their celebrations in private.  I loved the moment, as seen on TV, when Catherine walked out onto the balcony; her gasp of surprise was delightful.

And I cannot begin to tell you how fantastic it was to be standing there, part of this celebration of such momentous importance and joy.  It is something I will never, ever forget! A day to be remembered and celebrated, I hope, for decades to come!

all photos in this blog are the copyright of Cémanthe Harries of Stop and Think Photography

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Happy Birthday Queen Elizabeth


The Queen celebrates two birthdays each year.   Her actual birthday on 21 April and her official birthday on a Saturday in June.

The Queen was born at 2.40am on 21 April 1926 at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London.

The Queen usually spends her actual birthday privately, but the occasion is marked publicly by gun salutes in central London: a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park and a 21 gun salute in Windsor Great Park

The Sovereign’s birthday is officially celebrated by the ceremony of Trooping the Colour on a Saturday in June.

June 12 this year The tradition of Trooping the Colour

Trooping the Colour is carried out by fully trained and operational troops from the Household Division (Foot Guards and Household Cavalry) on Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall, watched by members of the Royal Family, invited guests and members of the public.

Queen Elizabeth II was the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

The Princess, christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace, was named after her mother. Her two middle names are those of her paternal great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra, and paternal grandmother, Queen Mary.

The Princess’s early years were spent at 145 Piccadilly, the London house taken by her parents shortly after her birth, and at White Lodge in Richmond Park.

She also spent time at the country homes of her paternal grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary, and her mother’s parents, the Earl and Countess of Strathmore.

In 1930, Princess Elizabeth gained a sister, with the birth of Princess Margaret Rose.

When she was six years old, her parents took over Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park as their own country home. In the grounds of Royal Lodge Princess Elizabeth had her own small house, Y Bwthyn Bach (the Little Cottage), which was given to her by the people of Wales in 1932.

Princess Elizabeth’s quiet family life came to an end in 1936, when her grandfather, King George V, died.

His eldest son came to the throne as King Edward VIII, but, before the end of the year, King Edward VIII had decided to give up the throne in order to marry the woman he loved, Mrs Wallis Simpson.

Upon his abdication, Princess Elizabeth’s father acceded to the throne as King George VI, and in 1937 the two Princesses attended their parents’ coronation in Westminster Abbey.

Princess Elizabeth was now first in line to the throne.

Shortly after the Royal Family returned from South Africa in 1947, the Princess’s engagement to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten was announced.

Having known each other for many years, the couple were married in Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947. 

As Britain was still recovering from the war,  the event was fairly simple and Princess Elizabeth had to collect clothing coupons for her dress, like any other young bride. They spent their honeymoon at Broadlands, Hampshire, the home of Lord Mountbatten, and at Birkhall, Balmoral

After her marriage in 1947, Princess Elizabeth paid formal visits with The Duke of Edinburgh to France and Greece, and in autumn 1951 they toured Canada.

On Wednesday, 6 February 1952, Princess Elizabeth received the news of her father’s death and her own accession to the throne, while staying in a remote part of Kenya.

The Queen meets thousands of people each year in the UK and overseas. Before meeting Her Majesty, many people ask how they should behave. The simple answer is that there are no obligatory codes of behaviour Рjust courtesy.  However, many people wish to observe the traditional forms of greeting РFor men this is a neck bow (from the head only) whilst women do a small curtsy.  Other people prefer simply to shake hands in the usual way.

On presentation to The Queen, the correct formal address is ‘Your Majesty’ and subsequently ‘Ma’am’

Thanks to http://www.royal.gov.uk/ a veritable mine of information

Thanks to http://purplerosee.blogspot.com/2009/08/worlds-richest-royals.html¬†for the photo ūüôā it’s great

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