Trooping the Colour review
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I went to Trooping the Colour today. This was my fourth parade in a month so the Queen must surely recognise me by now, she's seen me enough times. It's about time she invited me round for tea. I didn't have quite as good a view today, though, which was a bit disappointing. Although in a way, I did. But at the same time, I didn't... as I will explain. But at least I got to see the balcony bit this time. (Read about last year's event.)
The parade started at 10, so I got there about half-7 in the morning and had a walk up the Mall to Buckingham Palace. After last year's spot halfway down the Mall, I had already decided to stand on the bend near Admiralty Arch, where it curves around towards Horse Guards Parade, because that way, I thought, I could see the whole parade approaching down the road. I wished I'd stuck with that plan now, because when I got to Buckingham Palace the whole place was empty, so I decided to stand about level with the Queen Victoria Memorial instead. That was a bit dangerous, because the road bends round either side of the memorial. And which way would the parade go? To the left, or to the right? I ended up asking a friendly copper and she thought that it would go one way on the first journey, and the other way coming back. So I thought alright, that sounds okay, so I'll stick with that. Never trust a copper!
I had a great view of Buckingham Palace though, and saw a load of soldiers and bands marching from their barracks (on the other side of St. James's Park) towards the Mall. So far so good. And then the Queen came out in her carriage and went the other side of the memorial, blocking my view completely. But that was okay, I thought, because I'd have a great view coming back. Once the entire parade had passed by we had an hour's wait for them to do their business on Horse Guards Parade. If I'd stayed at the other end of the Mall then I might have been able to hear this, or even see a little bit of it, but of course I was miles away now, so I had no chance.
Once the parade got underway again I got my camera ready, only to see her disappear the same way she came -- around the other side of the memorial. She went the same way both times! Did I mention that you should never trust a copper? If it wasn't for the fact that she had a big truncheon and a pair of handcuffs on her, I would have tried to arrest her myself.
So let me give you some advice for next year... don't stand in front of Buckingham Palace, or either side of the Queen Victoria Memorial. Because you'll only have a 50-50 chance of the Queen passing the right way. The best place to stand now, in my humble opinion, is at the top end of the Mall, just on the bend where it meets the Memorial. So don't go near the Admiralty Arch end -- stay at the Buckingham Palace end, but plonk yourself at the very start of the bend. Not halfway round the bend, like me -- but right at the start. Okay, so this will give you a lousy view of Buckingham Palace, because the memorial will be in the way, but that doesn't matter -- because you'll have to move for the balcony appearance anyway (for reasons that I will reveal in a minute).
After the carriages and soldiers had passed by I got to see the second bit of the event, which I missed out on last year because I was too dumb to realise there was more. The Queen actually got out of her carriage at the Palace gates, and stood on a little step to watch the troops parading past her. Unfortunately I couldn't see the Queen (blocked by the gate), but I had a decent view of the troops. Whilst all of this was going on, the rest of the Royal Family came out on the balcony to see what was happening down below. Because I couldn't see the Queen, I thought she had somehow managed to hot-foot it inside and up the stairs super quick, and come out on the balcony too, but she wasn't there. Where was she? It wasn't until after the troops had passed by that I saw the Queen's bright yellow hat get into the carriage again, and disappear inside.
So that was bad thing number two that happened to me today. But there was more to come... By this time the only thing left was the balcony appearance (the proper one) and the flypast. And because we were already pretty close to the Palace I thought we'd be able to get a plum spot by the gates. But the police decided to march everyone up from the Mall before they let us out from behind the barriers! So all the thousands of people who been lining the Mall managed to fill up the area in front of the Palace while we were still kept caged behind the barriers at the Queen Victoria Memorial. I didn't think that was very fair. Did I mention that you should never trust a copper?
I did end up with an okay view though, but you should have heard some of the language that was being used. Have you ever been to the cinema and had someone super tall sit directly in front of you, blocking your view? Well, that is what it was like in front of the Palace. People were putting up umbrellas because of a few spots of rain, whilst other people were hoisting their 10-year old kids onto their shoulders to get a better view. Lots of people were shouting behind for people to get down, but of course they wouldn't. Everyone pretends to be deaf. It's a dog-eat-dog world in front of the Palace. Luckily my view was okay, and I ended up seeing the whole family (see video). The flypast was good too. Once the Red Arrows had buzzed past, that was it.
It still had an okay day, but it wasn't as enjoyable as some of the other parades I've been too.
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