Friday, August 17, 2012

Too much pageantry?

By: Colin Brown
Covering the London Olympics
If you didn’t know by now, England sure does like its royalty.  The only thing that they enjoy more (if at all possible) is making a firework out of a sparkler.  Whether it’s a wedding, a jubilee or a job, England likes to celebrate.
Thursday morning, Olivia and I took the 8:55 a.m. train into London Waterloo to cross off one of the items on our bucket list: watch the “changing of the guard” ceremony at Buckingham Palace.  When I went to Washington D.C. on the eighth grade field trip I saw the “changing of the guard” ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, so I was expecting something similar.
But then I remembered that I was at the Queen’s house and it wouldn’t be England if there weren’t a bit of pageantry.  A parade of “knights” sitting atop their noble steads made their way around the Victoria Memorial and through the main gates with their shiny, gold helmets to remind the crowd what a big deal they are.  They were followed by a marching band playing common songs.  All this time there were two groups of guards facing each other on opposite sides of the large, black gate being shouted at by their commander.  There were copious activities to be watching all at once.
With the entire spectacle around to gawk at, I truly did not actually see the guards change positions during the ceremony.  I’m assuming that they must have done so because otherwise that would be quite the overdone formality.
In the end, the “changing of the guard” was a neat experience to be able to say that I have seen it, but I would have to say that in true English fashion it is incredibly haughty.
p.s. Don’t you think that the Queen gets upset when there is a band playing outside her palace every morning when she is trying to make the most of her beauty sleep?

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