Friday, April 29, 2011
The Royal Wedding: London
I arrive this morning at St. James Tube Station. Not too early, mind you, as I like my sleep. I can opt to head for Westminster Abbey or head to the The Mall near Buckingham Palace. I choose the Abbey to begin with. I can get a good shot of the door which everyone will go through, but am still so far away that I decide I am early enough I can wander the rest of the route to see what it is like. The corner of Parliament Square already has all the prime spots taken. So I nip down a side street to see what else there is. Here I am in front of Big Ben. The problem is the door everybody is crowded around here is the wrong Abbey door. They are going in from the other side, where I just came from. I confirm this with a police man and move on. I head down Whitehall where the procession (coming and going) will head after it leaves Westminster. It is a bit tight getting around corners in the crowd. But once I am on that street there is much more room and only about 3 to 4 people deep lining the road. I wonder what time you had to get here to get a seat? That is the cenotaph where I wind up in the end. Hmmm. Where was I here? I wander down Whitehall confident that all this room might even exist on The Mall, the long run up to Buckingham Palace. The shots are great and most people are wearing blue, red and white. Union Jacks are everywhere. The only security I see at this early hour are the police. The media have come from all over the world and are perched in all sorts of places. Wait a minute, that is the police. The weather, which was forecast for rain, is cool with only a bit of overcast.. Perfect for someone who burns. I am getting closer to The Mall now. I have been working at home all this week so have not been out and about to see all the decorations going up. Ahead is the Horse Guards where pedestrians cannot go, but the procession cuts through to get to The Mall. There is no shortage of places to buy flags. Those are media crew on the cranes. Media has decended on this city from all over the world. Then I get to Admiralty Arch (beside Leicester Square) with The Mall beginning just on the other side. I get closer. I see the long road leading up to Buckingham Castle where the couple will emerge on the balcony with both sets of family and kiss (something that royals have never done in the past). But the crowds are so thick this way I can barely push through. Excuse me, that is your elbow in my ribs. I turn back to go to Whitehall where I think the best spot is. I have myself positioned and click the tail end of the car carrying Prince Harry and Prince William to the Abbey. ...And the mother of the bride. I have to lift the camera above my head to get a good shot of the road. As a result the pictures are a bit dodgy and scattered from this point on. I am back at the cenotaph (which you can see ahead). Oh, there is the bride heading to the church with her father. Let's zoom in on that shot. Hello, Kate! The ceremony is broadcast from loud speaker over the city centre. A hush falls on the crowd and cheers as the "I do's" are said. Then a myriad of military processions begin. I wish I knew all the different uniforms and which regiments they were. Guards emerge and begin to be dispersed in orderly fashion. 5 metres apart each. Things are getting excited and the royal couple are expected soon. We wait in hushed anticipation. Then the horses start to come. A different set of guards on horseback for each carriage. Blurry and zoomed in, but unmistakably them. I think Kate got a tan for her wedding. The carriage passes by and I hear a young woman catch her breath and say, "she is so beautiful". I keep thinking how petite she looks. Hello! They are the first of many carriages. Each with its own cavalry. Unfortunately I don't aim the camera right to catch all the others which carry Pippa, Prince Charles and Camilla, Kate's parents, and the queen. It is grand. Once the procession has passed most people head to the Mall where in an hour's time they will emerge again. I head away from the crowds back home. The street one over from ours is having a street party. We crash it and eat cake. The corner shop has a special window dedicated to the wedding. We would like to buy the union Jack butter dish and jug as a little celebration.