More on Westminster Abbey & Princess Kate

m8ed
m8ed
May 7, 2011, 7:32 AM |
5

   For the royal wedding, Google launched a 3d feature of the London borough of Westminster which lies to the west of the old city, to show the route of the procession. It opens and soon focuses on the Thames and on the Houses of Parliament (Palace of Westminster & Big Ben) opposite on the north bank, on Westminster Bridge, and the London Eye (the big wheel) to the right of the bridge on the south bank.

 

   The procession route is then quickly highlighted in yellow from Clarence House, down the Mall and around St James' Park past Parliament to Westminster Abbey adjacent to it, and then back again to Buckingham Palace by the same route, entering the Mall (the home-straight up to the Palace) through Admiralty Arch. The camera then pans right around St James' Park before it approaches through Whitehall and focuses on the Abbey in all it's majesty and the twin towers which stand either side of the Great West Door by which the bride and groom will enter. The camera then takes you back to the Palace through the streets as travelled, through Whitehall, past the Cenotaph, through Admiralty Arch, across the parade ground and up the Mall to the Palace.  

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LdjvZbYIR8

 

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    Now, for those of you that have not visited the Abbey and/or know little of it, a few words. . . 

 

   It was founded in the 7th Century and the Abbey was re-built in stone by Edward the Confessor (one of the last Anglo-saxon Kings) around 1050 but much of that which you see now (including the twin towers that stand either side of the Great West Door were constructed in the 13th Century. If you ever visit London, it is one place you really must visit, and should you do so, it is this door that you will enter by. Almost every English monarch (one or two exceptions only) is entombed here from Edward the Confessor who was buried here in 1066, right up to the Georgian period, along with many of the world's good and great men throughout the period. Yes, Queen Elizabeth I is here, her cousin Mary Queen of Scots too, and many more.

 

   Geoffrey Chaucer (since he worked and had offices here) was buried here in 1400 and soon after that other poets and authors would follow and be buried there all around him. The area where he, and others since, are buried became known as Poet's Corner and there are many now that lie there with him. They include: William Blake, Robert Burns, Lord Byron, Alfred Lord Tennyson, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, T S Eliot, Rudyard Kipling, John Milton, Dylan Thomas, Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters and many more. Laurence Olivier is also there.

 

   Prime Ministers, composers and aristocrats and other great names also lie buried here in the Abbey. Henry Purcell, Handel, Churchill are here, even scientists like Sir Isaac Newton and the naturalist of Origin of Species fame ~ Charles Darwin. They're all here!

 

   Here is a handy little 360 to allow you to explore the Abbey, when you open it, you can switch on and off the info (top right). Do a 180 and look for the little camera over the doorway ~ click on it to get behind the screen to the first part of the Nave and the entrance which is the Great West Door ~ the glass tourist screen (just inside the main door) of course was removed for the wedding. This is the way the Bride and Groom came in ~ and is the same way you will come too as a tourist J 

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12819684

 

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    If you watch the video clip with the Bride walking up the isle through the Nave here (and you didn't notice before), you will see that the red carpet splits left and right ~ this is because there is but one grave in the floor of the Abbey that it is forbidden to walk on. No, it's not Charles Darwin; he lies in the floor of the North Isle of the Nave beside the scientist Sir John Herschel and just a few feet from Isaac Newton ~ I can remember walking on him when I was last there J 

 

   No, the one grave that it is forbidden to walk on is the grave of the Unknown Warrior ~ he was laid to rest here in the centre of the Nave after the Great War in 1920 just inside the Great West Door. Winston Churchill lies under the floor there too. Here is the Brides arrival at the Great West Door and another opportunity to see that elegantly understated wedding dress.

 

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    You can watch the whole day live here on the link below, but if you click on the 'wedding highlights' button there is a timeline that runs beneath the clip and you can select various clips ~ just hover over the dots ~ the 1100 one gives you the best preview of Kate’s dress  and the next one the 1102 one is the walk down the isle that I speak of.

 

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http://www.youtube.com/user/theroyalchannel

 

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    O, and that rear!!! Mmmm, yummeee ~ if Pippa Middleton, her sister, doesn't get voted rear of the year I will be sooo miffed. It's heaven and sublime ~ a class ass :) You can't help but notice. . .

  

   And finally the procession itself; the Household Cavalry was charged with providing the Sovereign's Escort to the Queen and the Captain's Escort (to the Prince & Princess). They may look pretty ~ there were 186 of them involved in the procession ~ but these are trained killers. Their swords are long and very very sharp and they would not hesitate to use them if there were a need in order to protect their charges. It's the job! First and foremost, a military operation just like any other but of the utmost importance, to protect the Queen and the Prince and Princess from any, and all threats.

  

   They do however take huge pride in their dress, several days work go into preparing each of the 186 horses and riders, their tunics, equipment, brasses, and tack. The thigh length leather boots alone, worn by each rider takes, takes between 8 and 12 hours of elbow-grease and hard polishing to bring them to the required standard.

 

   The Household Cavalry is made up of 2 mounted Regiments ~ the Lifeguards and the Blues and Royals and it is the Blues and Royals Regiment (in the blue tunics) providing the Sovereign's Escort, and the Regiment of the Lifeguard's (red tunics) providing the Captain's Escort to the Prince and Princess. 

 

   The Captain’s Escort was appropriately commanded by one of Prince William’s closest friends since childhood, Nicholas Van Cutsem, himself a major with the Household Cavalry’s Life Guards, adding that special touch.

 

   The Guard of Honour to welcome the newly married Prince & Princess back to the Palace was provided by the Regiment of the Welsh Guards.

 

Here are all three. . .

 

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    ...and finally everyone was relieved it all went off well ~ even down to, and including, this verger who got himself in deep do-do for celebrating after the event.

 

   Just watch as he comes back into the Abbey after everyone has gone. . . but little did he know, the cameras were still rolling J 

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   …and what, you may well ask, became of the bride’s equally tasteful and equally understated bouquet?

  

   Catherine followed a tradition started by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother when she married her Bertie ~ King George VI ~ the then Duke of York, way back in 1923 (just 3 days different on 26 April).

 

   Like the Queen Mother, rather than throw her bouquet, she had it taken back to Westminster Abbey to lie on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier just inside that Great West Door! Here it is. . .

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Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

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and that same majestic walk in detail ~ this is as good as it gets. . .

  

 

 ~ m8ed