London: Palaces

Buckingham Palace

I went to Buckingham Palace twice in two weeks because I could.

 

 

The first time I saw Buckingham Palace was in the London Eye on my first full day there.

Finally after being in London for four days I decided I needed to see it up close.

 

 

Depending on where you come from there are different Tube Station exits to get to Buckingham Palace, I exited at the Victoria Station.  This made it so that I came to this beautiful building from behind, and not the grand entrance.  This continued the trend of seeing famous places from the back first.

 

 

 

The first thing I did was look at the flag to see if the Queen was home, she wasn’t.  I then became the ultimate tourist, taking selfies with my phone and taking pictures with my camera.  Looking behind me and I could see London Eye lit red up as it was starting to get dark.

 

 

 

 

 

I sat on the steps of the Victoria Memorial statue across from the Palace and stared.  The palace is only open for tours April through October and I was there in March so I couldn’t tour the inside.

 

 

 

 

The second time I exited at the Green Park Tube Station and when I came up on Buckingham Palace I had my grand entrance view. There it was, beautiful, royal and flying the royal coat of arms. HRM The Queen was home.  As I watched the Queen’s Guards march I realized I could now say that I have been to Buckingham Palace twice in two weeks, for no other reason that I could. You can only do that if you’re in London.

 

 

Hampton Court Palace

I forgot how to open doors and an Irishman had to open it for me.

 

 

 

I fell in love with Hampton Court Palace at first site. It is easily my favorite palace in London. I had to take a train to get there which I loved because I saw a different view of London.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The self-guided audio tour started in the kitchen where there were many fake meat pies, so I instantly got The Worst Pies in London from Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street stuck in my head and sang silently in my mind for most of the tour.

 

 

 

The Great Hall was beautiful though it was a lot smaller than I expected.  Here I stood in this room that Henry VIII held dinner parties in 500 years ago.

 

 

All over Hampton Court Palace there are signs that say something to the effect of “To preserve the history of this building please close the door behind you.” So being a rule follower I closed the doors behind me whenever I went into a new room.

At the top of this beautiful staircase is a double door with a knob on one of the doors .  I tried turning, pulling and pushing the knob but it wouldn’t open.  I finally asked a gentleman who was taking pictures of the staircase how to open the door and in an Irish accent he said “You just give it a push” as he pushed the door open for me. I can’t remember if I thanked him, I only remember being incredibly embarrassed and walking through the next room as fast as possible.

As I was speed walking through the room an employee walked toward the door and closed it.  I felt bad that I didn’t close it behind me, I was so embarrassed I tried to get away as fast as I could.

 

 

Now in my defense, not all of the doors opened and closed the same way.  Some needed to have the door handle or knob turned or a latch pulled.  Henry VIII was a bully and I will blame him for the fact that an Irishman now thinks that this woman from the States is an idiot and can’t open a door because the tyrant king made all the doors open differently.

And about that tyrant king, in the Young Henry VIII exhibit there is a sign on the wall that said “Fat, tyrannical, vicious and married six times. That is what you immediately comes to mind when people think of Henry VIII.” I just remember thinking “Okay, at least they know and admit it.”

 

 

Kensington Palace

Seeing Prince William’s and Prince Harry’s fingerprints on Princess Diana’s dress was touching.

 

I was exhausted the day I went to Kensington Palace and as excited as I was every day while in London this day I was especially tired. On my way to the palace I walked down Kensington High Street.

 

 

 

 

At the end of the tour there is an exhibit with many of Princess Diana’s dresses on display with stories and background information on the dresses.

 

This was such a touching display. I was 15 when Princess Diana died and I am 3 months older than Prince William. I remember watching her funeral procession on television and being heartbroken that these two boys my age no longer had a mother.

 

Princess Diana was beautiful both inside and out. She spent much of her time doing charity work and caring for people who needed it. I never felt that she only did it for publicity, I think that she truly cared.

All of the dresses where beautiful. There is a well-known midnight blue dress, it’s in a famous picture of her dancing with John Travolta. The card next to the dress points out that there are small finger prints around her knees, which were probably from a young Prince William and Prince Harry. I found that incredibly touching.

The day I went to Kensington Palace I took a short walk around Hyde Park and Notting Hill though most of my day was at Kensington Palace then relaxing in my hotel room.  I almost felt like I wasted a day.  But then again, a day in London, even if you only go to one royal place is not a day wasted.

 

Is there anything you want to know more about the palaces I went to?  I’d love to tell you more.

Do you have an embarrassing moment in a foreign country like I had with the door at Hampton Court Palace?  Tell me about it in the comments.

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