R is for Royalty #atozchallenge

2016-04-20 10.45.18Today is the Queen’s birthday. The old gal is 90 which is something to celebrate so why not an irrevant post on our Royal places? You know you want me to.  After all if there’s one thing the UK is known for it’s the Royal Family.

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You may think they are wonderful or you may not want them

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you may think the money would be better spent on a bronze of Ant and Dec or that the Royals provide fantastic value for the cash we splash on them

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you may think a lot of them are dingbats and inbreds or you may think they cover the spectrum from the great through the good to the down right adequate

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whatever side of the divide you are on, you cannot but acknowledge we are indebted to their existence, if not to them in person, for some stunning bits of this Capital City.

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Pretty much bang in the centre we have the monumental if not exactly cute Buckingham Palace (frankly it is to fairyland castles what viral herpes is to a good holiday)

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Buck House to the locals

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which is now open to the public.

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Let’s not get carried away and actually think the Queen wants a lot of commoners treading in her corgis do-dahs

2016-04-20 10.51.59nope, when Ma’am’s second and most dissolute son, Andy effing Pandy dropped a Silk Cut on the Regal shag pile and conflagrated Windsor Castle

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Betty Boo needed to pay the costs of repairs. A bit of entrance dosh to view some Russian eggs was the easy win.

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Now I am a Royalist – I mean, if we needed to vote in a Head of State right now it would be Stephen Fry or Mary Berry, wouldn’t it?

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You think I jest? Ok so we have just commissioned a £200 million research boat to plough its wake in the Antarctic Ocean and the powers that be, in an example of ‘be careful what you wish for’ opened up the voting for a name to Joe Public.

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The result? Some splendid explorer or brave soul, some champion of the poor and the dispossessed? Of course not. We have

Boaty McBoatface

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So let’s keep the Windsors and avoid ever seeing Ant and Dec reprising William and Mary as a royal double act.

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The walls around the Palace are huge so all you can really see is the front where the crowds gather for a the daily pageant of the changing of the guard. I dodged the tourists and their selfie sticks – everyone seems to be about face these days – I wonder if the watch the Guard changing with their backs to the action?

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Outside of Buckingham Palace, and beyond the Victoria Monument sits Lancaster House, Clarence House and St James Palace in a  complex of lovely buildings that puts Buck House into perspective.

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This group is home to Prince Charles and was to the Queen Mum.

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The Park on the other side of the Mall, St James Park, is lovely, if usually crowded

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though this corvid was a mite too tame for me.

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Green Park, which is next to St James Palace is less refined than St James

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slightly emptier and all the more enjoyable for all that.

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The Mall, with its pink tarmac and fancy light-fittings – more John Lewis than Ikea and all the better for that – is an impressive way to approach Buck House.

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When you are in the Mall have a look for the memorial to the Queen’s mum and George VI. I found it rather touching.

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The other day we popped our heads along Whitehall and saw the Banqueting House. This is all that remains of the enormous palace of James 1. See P is for Parliament for some more details.

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And we have also taken in Kensington Palace during K is for Kensington.

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This is possibly the most picturesque of the royal residences in inner London. If you want more then I heartily recommend Hampton Court – get lost in the Maze and seek out the ghosts – of Kew, thought frankly the gardens are what is good about Kew.

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Another royal to visit is the Royal Academy in Piccadilly

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Burlington House – especially if you are here when the Summer Exhibition is on.

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Opposite is Fortnum and Mason, an example of royal patronage. It’s basically a supermarket of sorts but is (a) ridiculously expensive and (b) fantastic to browse. If you want a good, highly traditional English Tea with all the trimmings then of the possible outlets I’d recommend this or Browns Hotel over the Ritz the Savoy or any of the others.

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Finally you mustn’t miss the Tower of London which hasn’t housed a Royal for many a year even though they keep their bling there.

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In 2014, as a stunning piece of installation art a series of ceramic poppies were installed, one for each Commonwealth solider who died in the 1914-18 war.

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I lost two great uncles, one of whose name was read out before the Last Post sounded.

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I wrote a post about my Uncle Willie Dyson here.

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The ceramic poppies were all sold to raise money for Service charities – I have four, one of each of my family, as a little reminder of those sacrifices.

This is part of the 2016 A to Z Blogging challenge. Please click here to find your way to other participants.

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About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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37 Responses to R is for Royalty #atozchallenge

  1. Wonderful pictures. I wish I’d had the chance to see those poppies.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Al Lane says:

    Another great post. Do you not think that David Attenborough might give Stephen Fry a run for his money as hypothetical President?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Miriam says:

    Great photos. Happy birthday to the Queen! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. merrildsmith says:

    Thank you for the tour!
    I’ve seen photos of the poppies before–they’re really stunning, but I imagine more so in person.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      In many ways what made it was the sense of solemnity in the crowd. I spoke to several people who had had grandparents and great grandparents lost which gave it a collectively moving impact

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Another great post in your series, and a very touching ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. corgis do-dahs? We have plenty of those here.

    A very nice write up for our Royals on this her 90th birthday. I hope they’ve booked afternoon tea at Fortnum’s for her? See you at the Royal Garden party in June. Or is it the Bloggers Bash?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Someone had to do it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ritu says:

    Happy Birthday Queenie! !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. esthernewton says:

    Very interesting, yet again and so poignant.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. jan says:

    We did get over to the Tower to see the bling. Oh my goodness, it’s almost vulgar. (you have to remember I’m a descendant of the Puritans) You’d think at 90 the old gal would give her son the chance to be king!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. fireflyby says:

    What an amazing tribute! I loved the wit in your post. Also reminded me of my London days!

    ff

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Allie P. says:

    I was fortunate enough to see the poppies in person as well. Very eye catching.

    I’d heard that Boaty McBoatface was leading the race, but that the rules of the contest were now being reviewed, potentially stripping the name of its award.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Jemima Pett says:

    That was super. My favourite part of Buck House is the stables aka the Royal Mews 🙂
    Jemima Pett

    Liked by 1 person

  14. So many questions raised and so many opinions to share ……… Did Andy really start the fire? I was there when that event occurred, I remember it was a tough year for HM! What is the name of the boat, I too thought it was to be ‘Boaty McBoatface’. I thought your President would be Dec and Ant. The poppy moat must have been a very moving sight – I take it the poppies are now gone and the moat is empty of all but rubbish again? Fancy HM being 90. Will the Heir Apparent ever be Apparent? Will it skip to Will and Kate or even their firstborn whose name I forget. [Was it Arthur?]

    Imagine if you had never had the Royals, no it doesn’t bear thinking about! This whole series couldn’t exist for starters – now that would spoil my morning coffee! [Probably wouldn’t even have coffee ……]

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Andy was in residence alone with a100 flunkies so I was speculating rather. George is the first born. Charlie will probably have a few weeks in the chair. And hit that coffee. And yes the poppies have been sold to raise money for services charities. No royalty. Hmm worth pondering.

      Like

  15. Norah says:

    The Queen’s birthday is definitely an appropriate day for this post. I drove past Buckingham Palace each time I went into the city, or almost everywhere else, when I was in London. One day, in a taxi, we met the Guards marching up towards the palace for the changing ceremony. They weren’t happy with the taxi driver’s reluctance to move out of their way!

    Like

  16. Helen Jones says:

    I love all the palaces and the history attached.
    I also love Boaty McBoatface 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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