Wednesday, 6 April 2011

England's Royal Wedding - Through the eyes of a London Tour Guide

With the run up to the UK's largest Celebration in recent years, thought we'd take a look at forthcoming Royal Wedding through the eyes of someone who knows London inside out. 

Linda King is a London Tour Guide, She spends her days uncovering London's best tourist attractions for those visiting London. As well as being a dab hand for all the historical information London has to offer, she's also pretty good at recommending apartments in London to stay.

Royal Weddings!

So another celebration is upon us. London is almost too exciting to bare at the moment with so many fantastic events on the horizon. Yes, indeed the long awaited wedding of the dashing Prince William and his gorgeous fiancĂ©e Catherine Middleton set to glorify the streets of Westminster on 29th April. In 2012 not only do we welcome the Olympic and Paralympic games to Stratford, London but we also celebrate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee. Yes, almost 60 years ago, her Royal Highness was crowned Queen Elizabeth II in the very Abbey where Catherine and Prince William will make their vows;  bunting is being retrieved from lofts, community spirited citizens are arranging street parties and London is set to rock for the next eighteen months.

As a veteran of state-celebrations, and more than familiar with the traditions of London as a professional Blue Badge tour guide, I can’t wait…The eccentricities of ‘brits’ really go into over-drive on such occasions. At least two days before the wedding in April, I can guarantee people will begin to camp out on the route to ensure that they have a good view of the procession on the day. Although it will still be a bit chilly and damp at the end of April, people will be prepared to risk good health and quizzical looks from tourists as they ‘bed in’ for the duration. Flasks full of hot drinks (and maybe something a little stronger) will be shared with complete strangers; conversation and just the sheer joy of sharing the unique atmosphere of such an occasion will live with the revellers forever.

My first experience of such an event was the ‘fairy tale’ that was Diana Spencer and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales in July 1981. The speakers placed on all the buildings along the route played all night; we were ‘congering’ all the way from St Paul’s to Trafalgar Square and dancing with policeman who were having just as much fun as we were. When the procession started the crowd ‘ood’ and ‘aahhh’ ed as celebrities, members of state from abroad, aristocrats and royals passed by, just feet away. The service was broadcast from St Paul’s so we could hear everything and the crowd were silent until the announcement ‘I now pronounce you man and wife’. A huge roar went up which I’m sure could have been heard in the suburbs. To be a part of such joy and celebration is an opportunity not to be missed…so rinse out your flask, pack your union flag, pack nothing but some sandwiches and a camera… and I’ll see you there!

Until next time...

Linda King. MITG

Linda King is a professional blue badge tour guide who loves visual arts and architecture and relishes the idea of escorting groups around galleries and Museums. With literature as her forte she is a qualified London tour guide and Windsor National Curriculum Specialist.