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Seeing The Queen in person

It was just announced that The Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge will be doing a joint appearance when I am in London next week. Has anyone ever gone to an appearance by the RF? How did that work exactly? So far they are not releasing the time of the event, so I have no idea how it could fit into my schedule. However...how fun would it be to see the Queen??

Posted by
3409 posts

Hmm? How fun would it be to stand in a crowd waiting for a glimpse of an elderly lady? I think the only answer that matters is yours. If this seems like a worthwhile use of your time to you, then go for it.

Posted by
2291 posts

It would be nice to see the Queen - but I would love a chance to see Kate Middleton in real life! I would keep Googling up to the bitter end for deets.

Good luck!

Posted by
1250 posts

"How fun would it be to stand in a crowd waiting for a glimpse of an elderly lady" - Carol

Depends who the lady is. If it's for a glimpse of Her Majesty, then great fun. If it's just to see some sneering person from a travel forum, then probably not so much.

Posted by
4755 posts

Personally, I could think of lots of things I would sooner be doing next week, than standing around for hours in the bitter cold (if it’s anything like today) waiting for a 2 minute glimpse of Queenie. She’s so short, unless you get there very early to be at the front of the barriers, then you won’t see anything.

Posted by
136 posts

Interesting responses to my question, I must say!

Considering that the vast majority of what visitors visit in London are historical landmarks - often queuing for hours to do so - I'm not sure why it would be odd to want to see the Queen and the future Queen. They are history in the making.

Instead of looking at the portraits of King Henry VIII, I know I would love to have seen him in real life, etc. Madame Tussaud's has made a fortune off of people's curiosity regarding famous people.

Yes, I do think it will be fun to stand for hours for a glimpse. If anyone has information on how these types of engagements work, I would love to hear it!

Thanks!

Posted by
7921 posts

I think it would be fun and a great way to meet locals in a festive atmosphere.
I hope you get actual answers to your question MC, i’d like to know too.

Posted by
760 posts

A couple years ago I was in London and was walking back to my hotel past Westminster Abbey. There was a crowd across the street and some barriers set up that hadn't been there a few hours earlier. I asked what was happening and someone told me the queen was scheduled to attend a memorial service in the Abbey. I walked a ways and crossed back over (so was further away than the rest of the crowd, but right up against the barrier. A few minutes later her car drives right by me, parks in front of the entrance and she gets out. I could only see her back. But one of the guards told me it was to be a very short service so I waited and about 20 minutes later she (and Phillip) came back out. I got a photo of her. It was not a formal 'appearance' but it was so cool to see her. Probably made even cooler for me in that it was unexpected.

It's image number 32 in this gallery - https://andiamo.zenfolio.com/p398383764

Posted by
5634 posts

Keep checking info online about when and where HRH and Duchess Kate are to be appearing. Once u discover that go to the palace and get as close as possible to the front gates.

Depending on timing you Might have to deal with others already there for the Changing of the Guards if that is occurring. Check that schedule.

OR if it is announced where they are going try to locate it and go there to wait for their arrival.

Good Luck!

Posted by
2624 posts

I’m 1996 my daughter and I went to The Order of the Garter at Windsor Castle, we saw the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Princess Royal plus many more. We were just a foot away from them, it was an awesome day.

Posted by
1852 posts

I think the Queen has met more people than anyone else in the history of the world.

Posted by
1767 posts

I once saw Prince Charles in person. It was great fun in spite of the view of the naysayers on here.

If you want to try, go for it

Posted by
8248 posts

Slightly OT but Isabel what lovely photos! I can't believe that person let a squirrel climb on her? Yikes and yuck. I love your interior shot of Temple Church. I've been there a couple of times but evidently NOT on a sunny day, lol!!

I am not big on celebrity but happened to be in London way back when Andy and Fergie got married. Yes, I stood in crowds to see the Queen and Diana and yes, it was very cool. I'd at least go by there!

Posted by
2729 posts

Borrow my husband. Where ever he goes, we bump into royalty or prime ministers, etc. Prince Charles is a regular, King of Spain, and then the leaders in France. LOL. Me, not so much, and I don't really care.

This post is humorous as my British son in law and his family just call the Queen "The Old Woman on the Dole". Obviously, they are not impressed with paying for the monarchy. You might find there are not many people hanging out to see them, maybe just Americans.

Posted by
4368 posts

An old colleague of mine was a former Royal Protection Officer and spent some time protecting the Queen. He told me quite a few stories involving him and the Queen (which I can't repeat here obviously), suffice to say she has a very good sense of humour.

Personally I have no real interest in tugging my forelock for anyone, I don't envy any member of the Royal Family, I see it more as a curse and a hindrance than a blessing but I acknowledge the value of them from a tourist point of view and I wouldn't want to replace them with a narcissistic, megalomaniac president (I'm referring to a number of presidents not just one in particular!).

Posted by
908 posts

Even if OT, Isabel, I'll echo Pam's comment that your photos are great! Thank you for sharing.

Posted by
2729 posts

JC

narcissistic, megalomaniac president (I'm referring to a number of presidents not just one in particular!).

...And prime ministers! LOL. Keep in mind, I was quoting Brits, not giving my opinion.

Posted by
2157 posts

I adore the Queen and would absolutely stand for hours to get a glimpse of her--I hope you do get to see her!

Posted by
389 posts

I'm not sure if there's anyway to get a better sense of timing other than turn up in the morning and wait. Maybe Kings College might be prepared to tell you whether it's morning or afternoon. Bush House is the building in the middle of The Strand. I can't picture whether there is an obvious place for a car to pull in but perhaps swing by earlier in your visit (combine with Somerset House, seeing the Royal Courts of Justice, Licilns Inn or Temple Inn or strolling over Waterloo Bridge which is my favourite). If I had the day free I'd be tempted!

Posted by
25760 posts

I can think of a half dozen entrances to Kings College - which building?? the announcement doesn't say - so it might be a challenge to know just where to go. Now Bush House - so that is the former home of the World Service of the BBC. When I was a shortwave nutter (antennas in the attic and at various different angles criss-crossing the back yard high enough not to interfere with my mother's clothes line - most people around considered me a bit of a radio nutter) Bush House was announced on all the broadcasts. Now as I frequently ride the 59 or 68 bus from Euston to Aldwich my little heart still has a little leap as we turn in front of Bush House.

It will make a mess of the buses in Fleet Street / Aldwich / The Strand area, to say nothing of Waterloo Bridge.

Maybe get there early (pray for no sleet or other naughty weather) and just keep walking around the circle until the barriers appear and then settle in...

Posted by
1682 posts

Well done, Nick. Heck, I'm small town hayseed enough to be excited seeing The Queen for sure, or any prominent member of the RF. I think she's a great lady.

I'm not sure which would be more exciting, Sir Paul McCartney or anyone from the RF. Probably be more excited to see an ex-Beatle in person.

Not to be political but from my perspective the UK has had a good run of distinguished, sober, and dignified prime ministers from both parties. This has nothing to do with agreeing with them politically.

Posted by
10344 posts

This thread reminds me of the day in 1979 that I saw Prince Charles walking down LaSalle Street in Chicago. He was on foot in a parade to honor his Chicago visit--they sure don't do that anymore (obvious security concerns). He and I were both a bit younger then. I was looking down out of a window in an office building, and even a hundred feet away his great suit, shirt, tie were noticeable. Guess he had a big clothes budget.

Posted by
196 posts

Isabel, I also loved your photos! Thanks for sharing.

My husband was in London during a Trooping the Colour rehearsal – he saw everything but the queen, with no crowds ;-)

A friend of ours did see the queen during a more recent Trooping the Colour, and was very excited. OP, I hope you get to see her! And my brush with fame ... my college roommate had lunch with the queen when she visited our university. (Several students were picked after submitting essays – I didn't bother, but my roomie was quite excited and, lo and behold, she was chosen!)

Nigel, I will think of your story now when I see Bush House. On our last 3 or 4 visits to London we've stayed in Holborn and often take one of the buses down Kingsway; I have always found Bush House very distinctive and associated it with the BBC without quite knowing why ;-)

My husband saw the king of Norway at the Oslo train station where he (the king) was about to take a regular train (!). I saw the king of Sweden when he walked in a parade in Jamestown, NY; I still have my little Swedish flag I was given to wave. Even as someone who is quite happy that the USA does not have royalty or aristocracy, it is fun to fan-girl other countries' royal families ;-)

Posted by
145 posts

Just have to add in my Queen sighting now...
My very first day ever in London, I arrived at the Tower of London for a visit, and it was closed. Many people were confused and didn't know what was going on but a large crowd was gathering. One of the bobbies standing guard told me the Queen was there and that it was her first visit to the Tower in something like 9 years. She was there to see the ceramic poppy display. We were pretty close to the gate and got to see her and Philip as they were departing. Given it was my first day there, I felt pretty lucky.

Posted by
1292 posts

I froze in June waiting to see the boring changing of the guard. I was next to the gate and had to hang on to the fence because the people behind me made it clear that they were going to get my spot! Never again will I be be part of a crowd like that!

Posted by
196 posts

Diane, that is my absolute nightmare scenario. Nothing is worth that kind of unpleasantness. (As an aside, although this whole post is an aside lol, we had VIP tickets to see Stephen Colbert's show in NYC last spring. Even that was something of an ordeal, but NO WAY would we have stood in line for hours as the non-VIP audience did.)

When we took our kids to London when they were small, we followed what must have been Rick Steves's advice (?) – we saw the guards' inspection and rehearsal at Wellington Barracks, just a block or two from the palace, then saw them march out grandly and head over to the palace – where there was an enormous crowd that we were relieved not to have any part of ... and this was in JANUARY. Oh. my. gosh. No, thanks!

Posted by
25760 posts

So, MC, the 19th was a week ago... what happened? Did you go? What do you see?

Do tell.....

Posted by
82 posts

A few years ago we sat across the field from her at the Braemar Highland Games. Funny story about that day, it was pouring rain all day. Everyone around us told us not to worry, it will stop when the Queen arrives (we were thinking...ya right LOL) and wouldn't you know, just as her car pulls in the rain stops and the sun comes out LOL.

Posted by
1009 posts

We need an update. Any sightings of the Queen or more importantly Princess Kate?

Posted by
5634 posts

@BigMike lets hope no one says that about you if you are lucky to be alive at 92.

Posted by
12348 posts

"...past time." Why? I wonder if the Edward VII thought that.

Posted by
8293 posts

I wonder if Big Mike has an aged grandparent or other relative? Is it past time for that person, too? Loutish comment which should be removed.

Posted by
136 posts

I'm back! Had a wonderful trip with my girls.

YES! We saw the Queen and Kate. Lots of fun. No hugs though :)

As to how it happened....they release no times anywhere. So I called Buckingham Palace. I now have the Queen's number in my contact list. Makes me laugh :)

They told me they would release times on Friday or Monday due to security. I called Monday and they told me mid-morning. What does mid-morning mean? If I got there at ten I'd be OK.

So we got there at 9:20 :) Met the photographers who travel who do this everyday. Interesting conversation. Found out that she would be there at 11:00. We wandered down the street in search of coffee, which we discovered across the street from the Royal Courts of Justice. If you haven't seen that building beofre it's like a princess fairy tale building, with turrets and Juliet balconies. Surprisingly, they just let you wander all over it, and my 8yo daughter loved it. Back to the Queen.....

We got back to King's College at 10ish and within twenty minutes a small crowd (of mainly Americans) started joining. The police got there at 10:15, ropes went up. We were stuck outside the gates of King's College, with the Queen and Kate being dropped off inside. Bummer. I got over it because the crowd of people was pretty fun and we laughed alot.

Queen and Kate showed up at 11:04, and the Queen was maybe 18 inches away from me. In the video my daughter shot you can see everyone with their cell phones up, and me waving like an insane person. So so so funny. I laugh every time I watch it. It was a purely joyful moment.

The car drove on, motorcycle police followed them blocking my view. Grrr. Saw the Queen's pink hat, but then Kate got out of her car and towered over everyone. She smiled and looked like a movie star. No exaggeration. In they went, and our group of new friends laughed and looked at videos and went our separate ways. It was a fun adventure. I could focus on the regrets of not getting closer, etc., but it was a start. Next time I'm going for tea! :)

A little extra fun....the Daily Mail website had a picture on it's cover of the Bentley pulling in. In between the bars on the left you can see my shirt, my daughter's cell phone and my 8yos dress. We are now famous :) It was a memory with my girls, and we have laughed more about that morning than anything else on the trip....which is the whole point of traveling, isn't it?

Thanks for all the replies!

Posted by
1682 posts

Forgive me. No offense intended, and it is quite unlikely I will even mention the Royal family while in the UK. I'm not exactly college material but neither am I a complete dimwit. I realize it can be a sensitive issue.

It just seems to me Charles has matured and he comes across like a genuinely humble, gracious, and good-humored man. At 70 it seems his time should come while he is somewhat still in his prime. This in no way implies the lack of a deep fondness I have for The Queen. It's not as if she would be sent away.

My dad retired from his job but he's still with us and as vital and important as ever to his family and friends.

Posted by
1250 posts

BigMike,

I think some were surprised by your original comment because in the English/British monarchy there is no tradition of abdication (retirement), so the only likely reason for Charles becoming king is the death of the current Queen. Resigning is more common in other monarchies, almost a new tradition now in Holland, but not in UK. Whilst you meant the Queen might retire in favour of her heir, to some of us it came across as hoping she might die so he could succeed. Not your intention, of course.

There have been abdications in England/Britain, but they are rare and voluntary abdication even rarer - for example Richard II is supposed to have abdicated in 1399, but it seems likely that was at the point of a sword and he later recanted until parliament deposed him anyway. I don't think that will happen with the current sovereign! And even though she could theoretically abdicate (assuming the UK parliament agreed, and presumably also the parliaments in all her other countries), royal watchers seem to agree she never would. Partly, apparently, her personal animosity to the concept of abdication after what her uncle (Ed8) did, but also Her Majesty made a Coronation Oath, which she gave before her Anointing and Crowning. She wouldn't wish to break that oath (Edward abdicated before his coronation, so had not made the vows).

There is already a mechanism in place for a regency if she became permanently incapitated. And why abdicate? She has the sort of approval ratings any politician would kill their nan for. Republicanism in Britain is a small & irrelevant faction, generally under 20% in opinion polls - and for the Queen specifically a poll last year found 92% liked her and 7% thought she was "okay". The other 1% was probably Russell Brand.

Posted by
1881 posts

MC,
Thank you for sharing your fabulous experience. It is fun, and I am so glad you and your family took the steps to be there and enjoy!! Lifetime memories to cherish.

(Mike, your post is a little surprising!?!?! The Queen is a very loved figure and seems to go peacefully about her duties. Some of us in the US might offer to trade our figurehead for her, but I do not think our friends in the UK would have ANYTHING to do with that trade!!!! Can't blame them :) She is gracious. Long life the Queen!!

Posted by
12348 posts

Edward VIII chose abdication saying "for the woman I love."

Posted by
8293 posts

Edward VIII was a foolish and weak man. He and Her Ladyship even had a friendly relationship with Adolf Hitler before WW2 began, so it was as well that he did abdicate and leave the crown for his brother. I always figured his punishment for not doing his duty was that he had to spend the rest of his days with the unlovely Wallace.

Posted by
2929 posts

Edward VIII chose abdication saying "for the woman I love."

And your point is....? Edward VIII was also a fool and a supporter of Adolf Hitler, so I'd hesitate to hold him up as any kind of example.

Looks like Norma and I were writing at the same time. Long live Her Majesty.

Posted by
1009 posts

Thank you OP for the update-it sounds like you had fun and really that's all that matters. Not a royal watcher but it sounds fun and of all the royals, Her Maj still seems to treat it as the great responsibility it is which is probably why she's been the lone European monarch who hasn't stepped aside for the younger royals.

Posted by
8248 posts

Thanks so much for the update! What a fun memory for the 3 of you!!

Posted by
39 posts

YAAAAY MC! And 18 inches is close!! So glad you got to see them both and have such magical memories to keep forever. :)

Posted by
1682 posts

I see a recent poll has the majority of public opinion favoring Prince William as the next monarch, and for Queen Elizabeth to not abdicate. If so, poor Charles.

Posted by
8293 posts

Was that a poll done by the Express or one of the other cheap and nasty papers?

Posted by
12348 posts

Edward VIII never wanted to be king anyway. a number of British aristocrats were mesmerized by the illusion of friendship with Hitler for various reasons, so was Lloyd George ...up to a point

Posted by
8293 posts

Edward VIII (Duke of Windsor) did want to be king and he wanted Wallace as his consort. He spent much time and energy whining and trying to persuade and bully the Government into allowing this. I imagine he was a very disappointed and surprised man to find himself, not king, but Governor of Bermuda (of all places). Even had he not wanted to be king, it was his duty.

Posted by
1009 posts

From all I've read Edward wanted to be King and Wallis wanted to be something more than a mere Duchess. While I don't think he agreed with all the Nazi propaganda and probably admired more their industry, the royals were smart to distance themselves from him.

I believe why Kate looks so tall is that she wears what Cardi B calls bloody shoes or stiletto heels. I noticed that even when she was pregnant she wore heels. Luckily at 90+ the queen can be as comfortable as she wants.

Posted by
5562 posts

So happy to hear you had this experience! On my very first trip to London when I was 19 I went to see Buckingham Palace and learned that the Queen and other members of the Royal Family were welcoming a head of state from one of the Commonwealth Countries and there would be a procession of the royal carriages! I was more like 18 feet than 18 inches, but it was great and I've never forgotten it--or the crowds. There were massive numbers of people on the Victoria Memorial. I did get a photograph, but have no idea where it si now. :(

Posted by
12501 posts

Delighted to hear that you had your "moment", MC!

Speaking of shoes, I was amused at Michelle Obama's story about commiserating with Her Majesty over their aching feet.

"The Queen then glanced down at the pair of black Jimmy Choos I was wearing. She shook her head."'These shoes are unpleasant, are they not?' she said. She gestured with some frustration at her own black pumps.

"I confessed then to the Queen that my feet were hurting. She confessed that hers hurt, too. We looked at each other then with identical expressions, like, when is all this standing around with world leaders going to finally wrap up?

"And with this, she busted out with a fully charming laugh."

We were just "two tired ladies oppressed by our shoes".

Posted by
3173 posts

Considering that the vast majority of what visitors visit in London
are historical landmarks - often queuing for hours to do so - I'm not
sure why it would be odd to want to see the Queen and the future
Queen. They are history in the making.

Of my many visits to the UK including my recent trip in which I came home 2 days ago, I have NEVER queued up HOURS to see anything. Why would anyone do that as it is certainly not mandatory.

If you enjoy queuing for hours, go for it!

Posted by
1881 posts

A thought for continental,
You have very likely been in a queue (or at least waiting spot) for hours.......waiting for a plane connection, or just arriving 3 hours prior to a flight. Just a matter of how we all choose to spend our time.

For MC and her family, they have lifetime memories of something special to them. It is pretty cool to see the Queen...think of all the tourists in London at the same time that just did not do the research to have that moment, but probably would have loved to experience what MC did...seriously!

I have seen people queue up for hours for sports events or concerts or Black Friday sales...........not my thing, but important to them. Here in Nashville, lines start in front of the Bluebird for hours and hours ahead (likely 99.9% tourists who just want to experience the iconic venue)......I am amazed when I glance toward the line at the Bluebird when driving from Kroger, but to them it is special (and it MAKES their trip to Nashville).

We are all different and all have different interests.

But, if you think about it, you likely have been in lines.

Posted by
1009 posts

Every time I go into DC, I see long lines at Georgetown Cupcake and ask myself, why are people waiting in line for a cupcake?! But some people and tourists like to do activities that may sound crazy to others. To each their own.

I have an acquaintance who flew to London and went to Windsor to be there and catch a glimpse of Harry and Meghan's wedding. It sounded absolutely bonkers to most of us, but she went, met crazy Americans and Brits like herself who she had a great time with and caught a fleeting glimpse on her cell phone of Meghan and Harry. She was excited and happy so where's the harm?

Posted by
12348 posts

Thanks for the historical accuracy on Edward VIII.

Posted by
1682 posts

Norma, Newsweek. Maybe you could report that?

Good Lord I'm a fan of The Queen and hope she lives to 150. My point was it would be nice if Charles could become king before he is feeble, but I'm thankful for the primer on the English monarchy not (or rarely) retiring.