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England #4 (London #2) 5/13

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High on our list of things to see in London was the famous Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. Recommendations were to get there early. It looked like others had the same idea, like a couple of thousand people. Supposedly, the best location to watch the proceedings is the upper-level of the huge statue honoring Queen Victoria, but we could see that was already packed. We wormed our way through the masses and found a slot only one deep from the fence. Then we waited. And waited. And waited.

The ritual starts well before 11 o’clock. The actual changing of the guard takes place supposedly at 11:30. After an hour and a half of carefully watching various groups of British soldiers marching about, I think we may have seen the moment, the guard changed, but I’m not really sure. The entire proceeding is unique and very British. It’s something you must see once, but probably not twice.

Based on the number of buttons and the color of the plumes on their bearskin hats, we, as experts, could tell if they were Welsh, Irish, Scottish, Coldstream or Grenadier Guards. The big black bearskin hats perched atop the heads of straight-faced soldiers has been a tradition for almost 200 years, but they have become controversial and seem likely to be replaced with a more modern, humane alternative.

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The solitary guard protecting the Queen at Buckingham Palace does get to move occasionally.

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Based on the number and placement of buttons and the color of the plumes on their bearskin hats, we, as experts, knew that these were Welsh Guards, maybe.

England 4 London 2 003  300x225 England #4 (London #2) 5/13

Notice the AK-47s. These are not flintlock muskets anymore.

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The Flag Bearers. See the different placement of buttons? On the right is an Irish Grenadier Guard—we think.

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The guard has been changed and it’s back to the barracks.

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Buckingham Palace, the home of her Majesty, Queen Elisabeth II, head of the British Monarchy.

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Obviously, we were not the first to arrive at Buckingham Palace.

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Supposedly the best location to watch the proceedings of the changing of the guard is the upper-level of the huge statue honoring Queen Victoria.

England 4 London 2 009  225x300 England #4 (London #2) 5/13

Standing 25 meters (85 feet) high and made of 2,300 tons of gleaming white marble, the Victoria Memorial pays homage to Queen Victoria who reigned from 1837 until her death in 1901.

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Even Monika could not get into the gate of Buckingham Palace. Maybe she just needs a bearskin hat?

 

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One Response to England #4 (London #2) 5/13

  1. Chris June 7, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    Hi there, interesting posts thank you, keep up the good work!

    Hopefully I don’t sound too much like a trainspotter here, the rifles being carried aren’t AK47′s but are SA80′s which are unique to the British army. Also, just wanted to point out that the regiment is indeed the Welsh Guards as denoted by the Welsh Leek on their collars. It might also interest you to know that these are not merely ceremonial troops, the battalions are rotated on a regular basis and as such these soldiers are likely to have seen service in the foreign conflicts undertaken by Britain in recent times.

    Many thanks, Chris from Wales.

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