learn. the british monarchy.

No, I’m not invited to go. I’m not even a citizen. And I don’t know anyone involved. Yet, I cannot resist the hype and the anticipation of the Royal Wedding. Thankfully, I have been invited to watch… we all have.

With every news segment, article, and hour long special on the House of Windsor, I find myself reminiscing about my time inLondon. So here is what I remember of my “encounter” with the Queen.

“When is Lizzy’s birthday?”

My friend Katy was student teaching during our semester in London and hoping for a glimpse of the Queen, live and in person, while we were there. After all, we don’t fully comprehend the idea of a monarch or a royal family or really even pomp and circumstance on this side of the pond. So, Katy asked the teacher with whom she was working if there would be an opportunity.

Carole in turn asked her coworker, “When is Lizzy’s birthday?” thinking that might be our chance.

At the retelling of this conversation, I was taken aback yet completely amused knowing that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth could be referred to with such familiarity. It was a learning moment, an insight into the British perspective of the Royal Family. Of course, on some level I could relate. More than enough Americans were referring to the President as “W” (“Dub-yuh”) at the time, and if that isn’t a dilution of a name, I don’t know what is. Lessons aside, the most important discovery from Katy and Carole’s discussion was that our best chance of seeing the Queen was the State Opening of Parliament that November.

On November 17th, Katy and I secured our position on the walkway in view of Westminster Abbey and Parliament to watch the grand parade. A military band, a horse-drawn carriage for the symbols of the State, including the Crown, and finally a horse-drawn carriage for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh made their way fromBuckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament. We waved. I took a photo or two since I was conserving exposures on my compact 35mm film camera.

The Crown in Carriage

The Queen in Carriage

And that was my brush with Lizzy…excuse me, Her Majesty.

Perhaps my experience of the British pageantry then, the rarity of events so grandiose as a royal wedding, and the accessibility of the entire thing are the ingredients of my interest. Since the monarchy has really advanced with the times in the last decade or two, there is more than enough information available to answer your questions about the role of the Royals and their part in history. The official site for the British Monarchy is a great place to start, complete with a family tree, descriptions of residences and ceremonies, You Tube videos, and a link to the Royal Facebook page and twitter account (which of course follows no other accounts). I told you they had modernized a bit.

All this is helping inform my viewing party plans, so stay tuned.


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