London Vacation

Wednesday, August 11

Hotel, Buckingham Palace,
Royal Mews, 

St. Paul's Cathedral

Start | Day 1| Day 2 | Day 3
Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7

Watersuite Midi

We arrived at our hotel around 9 a.m., Wednesday, August 11, 1999, after an 8-hour flight on British Airways from Dulles Airport. We were lucky and were assigned bulk-head seats, which offered plenty of leg room.

On our first day, we walked down the street from our hotel to have our first British breakfast in a cozy little restaurant, Riccoux. Next, we walked through Hyde Park were hundreds of people gathered to watch the solar eclipse. We then walked to Buckingham Palace, where we toured the State Rooms, the Royal Mews, and St. Paul's Cathedral. Not bad, considering that we were functioning on only a few minutes of sleep the night before.

Grosvenor House Hotel
--Our Hotel-- 

Our Hotel, Grosvenor House--Front Entrance

Me standing in front of our hotel, Grosvenor House (pronounced Grove-nur), which is located in Mayfair, an area filled with elegant Georgian town houses and exclusive shops. (La-tee-dah.)  Grosvenor House is across from Hyde Park.

Grosvenor House--Back Entrance

View from our hotel room window, looking toward the back of the hotel.

Hyde Park

hydepark.jpg (12166 bytes)

Buckingham Palace
St. James's

Buckingham Palace, Aerial View

Buckingham Palace serves as both an official home and an office for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It is the setting for state ceremonies and official entertaining and is one of the few working royal palaces remaining in the world today.

Buckingham Palace

Alan in front of palace during the solar eclipse.

Buckingham Palace, The Grand Hall

The present white and gold decoration was executed in 1902 by C. H. Bessnt for Edward VII.  During our visit, the sunlight gave the same warmth to the room as pictured above. 

Buckingham Palace, The Throne Room

The Throne Room was intended for Investitutes and ceremonial receptions of dignitaries by the Sovereign. It was also used by Queen Victoria, in the early years of her reign, as a ballroom. This room is now used principally for the reception of formal addresses on important occasions, such as those presented at The Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977. Royal wedding photographs are also usually taken in this room. 

Buckingham Palace, The Picture Gallery

Watercolor by Douglas Morison showing Prince Albert's arrangement of the pictures, 1843.

Buckingham Palace, The Blue Drawing Room

This is one of finest rooms in the palace and the ne plus ultra of Georgian sumptuousness in decoration, even more splendid than the Throne Room sequent on the east front.

Buckingham Palace, The Music Room

This is the room where guests, having assembled in the Green Drawing Room are presented before a dinner or banquet. Here too, royal babies are sometimes christened. The Queen's three eldest children were all baptized here in water brought from the River Jordan. This was one of my favorite rooms, where I was especially impressed by the diagonal coffering of the dome. 

Buckingham Palace, The White Drawing

The Royal Family gather here before meeting their guests in the Music Room.

Buckingham Palace, The Centre Room

This is the room from which members of the Royal Family emerge to wave from the Balcony  to the crowds after ceremonial occasions.

The "Royal Wave," Alan and Nancy

Alan (left) and I (right) join our friends on the Balcony.  Doesn't Alan look dashing in his uniform, and don't I look very British in my hat?

The Royal Mews
St. James's

The Royal Mews

The Royal Mews is one of the finest working stables in existence. The royal carriages and horses, still used for ceremonial occasions, are kept at the Royal Mews (once used for keeping falcons and hawks when "mewing" or molting--hence the name). The ornate Golden Coronation Coach, the Glass Coach used for royal weddings, and many more are on view here, with rooms displaying gleaming tack. The royal limousines are on display next door.

St. Paul's Cathedral
The City of London

St. Paul's Cathedral, Aerial View

St. Paul's Cathedral cathedral replaced the huge Gothic church that burned down in the Great Fire of 1666. Designed by Christopher Wren, the dome (360 ft. high) dominated the city's skyline when it was completed in 1720. It was here that Lady Diana Spencer wed Prince Charles in what was prematurely billed as "the fairy tale wedding of the century." 

St. Paul's Cathedral
Entering the West Doorway.   

St. Paul's Cathedral

High Alter and Baldacchino.  

St. Paul's Cathedral

The mosaics in the Quire.

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