Today is our last day in London and we need to go sight-seeing… squeeze in all the things we have missed out in the past week.. being Malaysians and all:)
So here we are. Buckingham Palace was built in 1702 by the Duke of Buckingham as his London home. The house was then later sold to George III in 1761 by the Dukes son. In 1774 it was renamed “Queen’s House” as Queen Charlotte resided there. Buckingham Palace finally became the official royal palace of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. (Read more here)
For me, it was just a way to kill time before lunch. Having seen the changing of guards like a million times, I had to stifle a yawn as my enthusiastic companions ushered me towards the palace grounds. Oh God.. at least the weather was magnificent – almost like a day in summer except that it was 9 degrees Celsius! I decided to distract myself form watching the time (till the clock struck 11.30a.m. and proceeded to (a) take as many awesome photos as I could (b) talk to strangers (c) talk to myself.
Jeez.. it’s only 10.15 a.m. The Changing of the Guard takes place in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace at 11.30 a.m. every day in summer, every other day in winter, and lasts about 45 minutes. Another hour or so to go. Woe is me!.. I start chomping aggressively on a jelly bean that a lovely couple from Liverpool had handed to me. Thank God for nice English folk who carry sugar treats in their handbags.
Do you like this shot? I took many, many angles of the angel! Incidentally that ‘angel’ is in fact, not an angel, but rather a winged statue known as the Queen Victoria memorial - a gilded statue of “victory”. Wow, when I die, I wonder if I can get wings put on me.. like hot, gold ones I mean:P
Apparently, these uniformed men you see in front of Buckingham Palace (and other locations) are not just ceremonial guards but also serving Soldiers. While upholding the traditions of the past, they also perform duties throughout the world as professional soldiers and are known as some of the most elite and skilled soldiers in the British Army.
These are some of the best soldiers in the British Army and have fought in virtually every major area of conflict with great distinction since the 17th Century. They also take an active role in protecting their Sovereign; at night they patrol the grounds of both Buckingham Palace and St. James’s Palace.
Wow! I feel so damn safe being a stone’s throw from these big, strong men, it’s unbelievable.
Finally, an hour passes and it’s nearly time for lunch! Hurray. Our final destination, brings us to the iconic St John. I can smile again.. in anticipation of the meal of my life.
The final and concluding installment to Travel London.. coming right up!