Tuesday, 17 April 2012

My Royal Adventures: part I

A bit of Royal Patriotism
This week when I called the G Family to invite them over for a big roast dinner on Easter Monday we got to talking about what they'd been up to while the kids were on school holidays. Mrs G mentioned they were currently in town scoping the road closures for the Queen's visit the following day.

Completely surprised that the Queen was visiting York, I got a brief explanation from Mrs G and promptly started Googling "Queen visits York 2012". Most of the hits came up with ... "for Maundy Thursday service", which I also had to Google.

What I found out was Maundy (Holy) Thursday was named so from Jesus' 'mandate' or commandment at the Last Supper to "love one another as I have loved you"

In England the Royal Family has presided over a Maundy Thursday service since the 13th century. The last time the Queen was in York for such a service was 1972, just before I was born. She visits a different Abbey, Minster, or Cathedral each year. At this service members of the church/community are honoured for their good works. The number of people and their service award is based on her age This year 86 men and 86 women were honoured. They received 2 purses, one contained specially minted silver pennies valuing £0.86 and the other containing  5.50. This is all legal tender and can be spent in any shop. I don't think I would spend it though, I think the sentimental value far exceeds its currency value, especially this year during the Queen's diamond jubilee.

Now that I was well versed in the reason for her visit and studied her itinerary, I needed to plan my way into town. My husband works about 35 minutes drive the opposite direction and leaves the house very early in the morning. I would have been in York at 6am or even earlier for him to get to work on time. It may not have been a bad idea to go in that early, but I really didn't want to stand in the cold and damp alone.

We thought about the options and decided the bus should work. It stops in the village just before 9 am and arrived in York on Station Rd about an hour later.  The ride was pleasant and I will be expanding my territory regularly by taking the bus into the city!
Most of my view

I hopped off the bus just about a block away from the G Family.  We met up and walked towards the minster.  I had to leave them behind as the pram (stroller) would not fit through the crowds.  They waited on a corner and had a view of the Queen driving towards the minster while I managed to weave myself into a spot about 5 people deep along the crowd barriers across from the Great West Door of York Minster.  I was really quite surprised as to how many people tried pushing wheelchairs and double strollers through this crowd.  I was glad I wore comfy boots, they protected my toes from getting squished a few times. I just managed to see the Queen enter, I would have seen more if the woman behind me was not so rude.  She continually leaned on me to prevent her from loosing her balance while standing on her tip toes raising her phone over my head and in front of me to get a picture.  I guess crowds bring out the worst in people.

I held my ground as the crowds dissipated during the ceremony and managed to snag a spot slightly closer (about 3 people deep) and waited for the Queen to exit.  I was rewarded for my diligence and met some lovely women in the crowds as we waited.  The Queen exited in grand fashion, as she should.  First out of the Minster were the BeefEaters in full dress, then the Archbishop, and finally the Royals.  Everyone posed in front of the Minster (in a sort of wedding portrait fashion) for photos before The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Princess Beatrice entered the royal car and proceeded to The Mansion House for their lunch.

The G family was already in the Museum Gardens lunching on the wall around the museum.  I met with them and we asked the police where we would be allowed to sit upon the Queen's arrival to the museum.  He informed us anywhere on the grass surrounding the museum, so we came down from our wall and proceeded to the first open spot of grass that we could fit the pram and give little MG a spot to tootle around on while we waited for the Queen to finish her lunch.  We had a couple of hours to wait and a good seat, so felt we had a good opportunity to see Her Royal Majesty as she entered/exited the museum.  This spot was included on her trip to York as the museum was opening a new exhibit following the 800th anniversary of the city receiving its Royal Charter.  More about this leg of her visit tomorrow! 

Dr. John Sentamu, Archbishop of York
He didn't waste time getting out of his formal robes after
The Queen drove off!

Yoemen of the Queen's Body Guard

Loved the Uniforms, especially the shoe ornaments!

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