Hubby and I have longed to go to Buckingham Palace for quite some time when the exhibition Fashioning a Reign, 90 years of style from the Queen’s wardrobe, came up and gave us the shove we needed to get our tickets booked. We decided to book for a morning slot to begin before the changing of the guard finished and that was a very good plan, the Palace starts to heave at 11.30 and then one is shuffling along in a very dense queue. The other problem that one needs to remember is there is no public loo at the Palace until the end of the tour and then its a good few steps away from the Palace, so you need to be prepared for that, we took 2.5 hours to get around, but I can imagine that when it is as busy as we saw it, that it can take considerably longer.
So, I did a bit of research and found the nearest loo was only 300 yards away, not in St James park as most people say, we walked up Buckingham Palace Road, turned right into Palace Street which is nearly opposite the entrance to the Royal Mews, then walked past the Pheonix Pub turning right into Cathedral Walk and then one walks straight into a shopping arcade with Marks and Spencers on the left and the public loo’s are a couple of feet after that, if the public loos are shut Marks and Spencers have some very good loo’s in their downstairs cafe.
Anyway back to the visit, your channeled through airport styled security and then start your wonderful walk around the State rooms with the aid of a free audio tour. I loved every second of it, I’ve wanted to know what Buckingham Palace looked like on the inside since a very small child, so it was a big dream come true and what’s more as we had our tickets stamped we can go back as often as we like for year.
The dresses were as you might imagine amazing, I particularly enjoyed the tailoring depending on designer and era, the seventies styles were for a Queen I think quite a statement. But then our Queen has never shied away from a little bit of colour or a statement head piece. Of course the one dress that made all who saw it gasp was the Coronation dress, heavily encrusted with pearls, crystals and sequins in floral emblems of the Commonwealth and I can assure you how every woman looking at it wondered how it would feel to wear such a dress, how it would move, how much it would weigh, how Queenly we would feel and we all gave a deep sigh as we left the display knowing that we would never, no matter how much we wanted to, own a dress such as this.
We had coffee and cake after the tour, very nice, paper cup, nice cake, £17.00, ouch. The second time we went we took our salad sandwiches and coffee and had a mini picnic sat on one of the Queen’s benches admiring her garden and chatting to one of her many security staff.
Next time we will pay to do the garden tour, but until then here a few snaps, of course there is no photography allowed in the Palace.