Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Queen Is In

Landmark events of the day:

  • Windsor Castle
  • Kensington Palace
  • Harrod's
  • Covent Gardens
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Today was another busy day for the HUM 1915 class. We started the day at Windsor Castle where we had the opportunity to witness the enchanting changing of the guards.

The Changing of the Guard

Emily W and Corissa watch

(No photographs could be taken inside of Windsor Castle, so many of the pictures below are from online sources.)

From there we toured the grounds and some of us were lucky enough to get the royal treatment. At Windsor a lovely member of the staff, spent extra time with the members of the HUM 1915 class passing on his vast knowledge of history and the inter workings of the Royal Family. Phillip shared that the Palace experienced a great fire in 1992 which was devastating to the Queen and her nation. A year of personal woes, with the fire included proved to be a very trying year. Luckily, most of what was damaged was able to be repaired, including a 2 ton Russian urn that sits in the Grand Reception room. This urn is the largest of its kind outside of Russia and was pieced back together, shard by shard after the horrendous fire.

Urn similar to the one we saw at Windsor

Another mesmerizing area of the castle was The Waterloo Chambers. This magnificent room is where the Queen celebrated her 90th birthday dinner a few short days before!! Phillip also explained to us that the Queen always sits in the center of the long side of the table in order to interact with more of her guests.

The party room!

Without dishwashers at Windsor Palace, each piece of the 48 china dining sets kept there are hand washed one by one, in a rubber lined sink (to avoid chipping), and then dried with a blow dryer.

Examples of the Queen's china sets

Phillip also shared that the Queen refers to The Palace at Holyroodhouse "the office", Buckingham Palace "the office", but Windsor Palace she likes to call "home" as this is where she plans to spend 9 months out of this year. We were so fortunate to be at the Palace the same day as Her Majesty, and just on the other side of the wall to her private apartments when she was in. The HUM 1915 class was also very fortunate to encounter Phillip and appreciated all the time and knowledge that he shared with us.

When this flag is up over the castle, it means the Queen is in

Our next stop was Kensington Palace, the official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Princess Katherine. Here we peered into the life of Queen Victoria through the displays of her personal items throughout her life. From the day she was crowned Queen, to the very staircase she met the love of her life Prince Albert, their life together, the dark depression she experienced after his death, and finally life after her's. We also were lucky enough to see an exhibition of royal clothes on display ranging from Queen Victoria, Princess Margaret, and even Princess Diana.

The group pictured outside of Kensington with Professor Wolfe

The class then continued on to visit the monument Queen Victoria had built after Prince Albert's death commemorating his life at the grand entrance of Kensington Park. This extravagant monument stands opposite of Royal Albert Hall.

Current Elmira College President, Dr Norman Smith, used to live and work here, so it was interesting to see this area with that in mind.

Lastly, we experienced many different local shops and markets on our way to the wonderful family musical, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. With witty historical references, impressive artwork, and a positive family environment the HUM 1915 class had a very relaxing end to a whirlwind day.

Brittany posing in the theater lobby before the house opened

The class awaits the start of the performance


"I really enjoyed the the musical. I believe everyone should have a little theatre in their lives."

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