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The Royal Wedding Day Retrospective
OK, now about the Royal Wedding, the reason for the trip, as Jane and I experienced it on Buckingham Palace grounds.
7:00 --Gloucester Road Underground was surprisingly vacant. Made me wonder if the rest of London was already in place. . . .
the answer was, oh yes! and then some.
Jane and i staked out a 2X4 patch on the grounds with a little picnic ascot i bought years ago at Winfield House at the Sidewalk sale. there we stood/sat from 8:20 until about 12:30--a good four hours of watching and talking to the English and her party guests. Later we moved for a better view of the the balcony moments until the crowd made us run for our lives. Hopefully the pictures will show more than my words:
as you see, these are all photos of the spectators, not the Royals. But that is all we could see. The fact is, i knew if we saw anything, it would be just a glimpse--but again, that is not why i came. I wanted to BE there--having that moment of history indelibly impress me; the sights, the sounds, and the swell of excitement in the crowd under the overcast sky that, as i later learned, gave way to the sun the moment that Kate stepped from her car.
Being there allowed us to follow along with the Order of Service printed in the newspaper. We joined in the prayers, and the hymns--i mean what a moment-- singing along outside Buckingham Palace a hymn written in the 1700s by Charles Wesley--"Love divine, all loves excelling/Joy of heaven to earth come down/ Fix in us thy humble dwelling/ All thy faithful mercies crown . . . till we cast our crowns before thee/Lost in wonder, love and praise." (what is it like to sing those words when you really do have a crown or two?)
i joined in the printed blessing prayer and added my own. i must say as a Christian, it was very heartening to experience the public, unapologetic Christ-honoring service, where the exalted of the land bowed in humble recognition of the One whose Kingdom will never end and before Whom we will all stand. it felt right-side up.
At the conclusion we could hear the famous fanfare while the London Chamber Orchestra played Crown Imperial. i imagined the processions and the new joy in that old chamber.
After the ceremony, there was a shift in the crowd from anticipation to pure celebration. Jane and i moved outside the premises to get some air. Then we found another spot in full view of the balcony where the bridal couple would appear in just another few hours. this time we were in the front row. Enjoy the pictures from there:
Balcony in focus:
Suddenly, they appeared!
Followed by the family and a particularly beaming Queen Elizabeth.
As if on que--three fly-overs thrilled the crowd
When the barriers were removed, a wall of people flooded the area from both sides.
in a blink, my camera shots were a blur of movement and i ran to a tree for cover.
Safe and smiling. it could not have been more spectacular.
A Week of Reflection The faces and conversations settle in my mind as i sit in my Lawrence home now one week after the Royal Wedding day--now a memory, a mosaic, but i am not quite ready to pack it all away. I think of the girl with the gold and white octagon hat box who took it out to show us while we waited in Canada. "I told myself i would not go home without a hat. So i went to Harrods and tried them on for an hour and had so much fun!" Her account of course prompted me to admit the same delight in the afore mentioned shoppe. So she went home with a hat in a box that will probably perch prominently on a closet shelf--as will mine--holding memories of the Royal wedding and our desire to play too.
Maybe that is what this was all about: it struck some deep but very latent desire to enter the fanciful, almost imaginary land of the lovely, the beautiful, from which our best childhood stories come. England is their seed bed after all. But to find them in fact, actual--not imaginary-- carriages, men in armor on horseback and a kindly prince and beautiful princess . . . it somehow validates the deep belief that the world was created with beauty in mind, or we would not all flock to it. Even the trees in Westminster Abbey, i am told were intended to evoke the Garden of Eden in our prelapsarian consciousness.
As one who sees the conflict of good and evil and feels the culmination of that conflict in my bones, it was a delightful break from the tragedy that swaths the earth in daily broadcasts. it encouraged my belief that even while dealing with real mortal enemies, we can seek and find the "goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."
My trip to London was also my attempt to link our national past with this present new chapter between England and America. Fascinated as i am with the parallels between the developmental stages of human beings and countries, in my year living there, England always felt familial. Like it or not, there is a parental element. But as in every adult parent/child relationship there is the potential to become adult friends. all in all, it seems like Britain and America enjoy the mostly mature stage of mutual respect. Brilliant. Well done.
I am also very interested in the formation (and collision) of world views and the eschatological ramifications, so I like to get outside the American bubble to evaluate my own viewpoint. Since i have a bit of an A-Z type brain, i process beginnings and endings but don't quite know what to do with the messy bit of daily living. This was a diversion from my tendency to sum things up. Instead, i just enjoyed the present.
That was the gift of it.
Besides my hat and souvenirs, I also bring home potential new friendships with others across the pond--a journalist/antropologist who is analyzing the effects of interactive media in community formation, both global and local and a newly married British couple who are on temporary military assignment in Kansas. i plan to have them over for Tea!
Lawrence, there you have it, as best i can give it---"Bob be your uncle!"