Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding - 29 April 2011

Decisions, decisions, decisions! William & Catherine’s wedding had created a unique opportunity to take an eleven day holiday and only use three day’s annual leave but was that the “right” thing to do? After all, people were flying into London from all round the world to be here for the big day and we were considering leaving. Eventually we split the decision in two and went to Denmark for the first 4-day break and put in hold the fate of the second 4-day break.

As the wedding hysteria grew we felt that it would be “wrong” to be here, so close to the action and not be there. But how hideously crazy would London be? The keen types were already camped up outside the Abbey, would we see anything at all? How early would we need to go to catch a glimpse? And so on.

We decided to do a reccy on Thursday night after work to get a feel for it all, check out the route and decide on a target vantage point. Although the Abbey precincts were manic and the Mall was entirely lined with happy campers, Whitehall was totally deserted; a plan was forming.
Although we own a tent and sleeping bags, we also own a nice warm comfy bed only 9 miles from central London. Cold, hard streets or warm ,comfy bed? Tough choice, and next morning when the alarm woke us at 0600 we were sure we had made the correct decision.

We were in Whitehall by 0745 and the crowds were there before us but only one deep along the barriers so it was just a matter of choosing a spot where there was a little gap between parties. The ladies on the right had been there since 0500 and the girls on the left since 0600 but they generously offered to let Christine squeeze in between. Since Murray can easily see over Christine, we were sorted.

With small camping stools to take the “wait” off our legs we were better set than most as we waited for the proceedings to begin. The crowd was extremely well behaved and would cheer at any random stranger that passed be they police, barrier erectors or road sweepers. Most of them got into the spirit and would respond with a regal wave.

Finally things started to happen and once all the parties had travelled from the Palace to the Abbey we sat and listened to the service via a PA system that had been installed, then without any warning from the PA suddenly the wedding party was on their way back to the Palace and we were scrambling to get the cameras out.

We had zero chance of getting back to Westminster Tube so wandered off with the rest of the crowd towards St James Park and stumbled across a place where the Palace balcony could be seen through the trees and armed with binoculars could watch “the kiss”.

And so to home after witnessing what London does best: Pomp and Circumstance.

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