We awoke to the news this morning that Queen Elizabeth had passed away, so it really is an end of an era. New Zealand is a member of the Commonwealth, and although we are governed by our Parliament, our Governor General is the Queen’s representative.
I can remember the Queen’s visit here in 1953. As an 8 year old, I lined up with all the school on Waiwhetu Road, my flag in hand, waiting for the Queen and her entourage to drive past. I’m not sure, as a youngster, if I expected a queen dressed in a sparkly dress with a crown on her head, travelling in a golden coach. She was conveyed in a large black car, regally waving to all the school kids, as we excitedly waved our flags back at her.
Another highlight was on our trip to England in 2008. We were staying in London for a week or so, exploring all the wonderful sights. Luckily for us, Buckingham Palace was open to visitors and we purchased tickets for a tour. Sadly the Queen was not at home so we didn’t get invited to meet her over afternoon tea. Here are our thoughts (taken from our 2008 blog) of the visit through the palace.
“What can we say? The state rooms that are opened for public viewing in the summer season are just mind blowing. We had purchased our (timed) tickets the previous day and queued up with a huge crowd waiting to get in to this London landmark. After going through security we collected our audio guides and started our tour. We went up the Grand Staircase and into the Green Drawing Room, with walls hung with pale green silk. From there we went into the Throne Room and the long Picture Gallery, the Silk Tapestry Room, the East Gallery and into the Ballroom. This magnificent room was set out as it would be for a State Banquet. On the tables were silverware, the beautiful dinner service, crystal, and flower arrangements, it really looked superb.
The State Dining Room was dominated by a huge highly polished mahogany table, and our audio guide informed us that is is not covered with a table cloth when used as the table settings look so wonderful on the rich timber. The Blue Drawing Room, the Music Room, followed by the White Drawing Room were just as wonderful to view We then went through the Marble Hall with it's collection of marble statues and lastly into the Bow Room which overlooks the gardens.
Our impressions are: wonderful red carpets, beautiful domed ceilings, and a colour scheme of (mostly) white and gold. Add to this priceless paintings, marbles, works of art, tapestries, wonderful pieces of furniture. There was just so much to look and admire. We were not permitted to take photos inside, unfortunately, so we can not show you any of the treasures we saw. Guess this photo ban ensures that paying guests purchase a souvenir guide!!”
The official guide
At the rear of Buckingham Palace
So what happens next? I’m sure things are well in hand behind palace doors, and all the protocols will roll out like a well oiled machine. I’m sure Charles will step into his new role with confidence, with his family right behind him.