Friday, June 19, 2015

Tenth Day - Evensong at Westminster Abbey

When we left the Tower of London we hurried over to Westminster Abbey for their 3:00 p.m. Evensong Service. We missed it the Sunday before by 30 minutes, so we didn't want to be late again. Barricades blocked off automobile traffic around the Abbey, and there were no crowds of people moving about. We were fourth in line for the Evensong Service, and while I was delighted with our good fortune, I wondered why this Sunday wasn't as busy as the previous one.  Finally I mustered my courage and asked the gentleman in front of me. He explained the Royal family had just attended a special Thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey commemorating the 70th Anniversary of VE Day, which had just occurred two days earlier on May 8th. 

Now the Red Arrows 'Flypast' at the Tower of London made sense, as well as the barricades and lack of people around the Abbey.  Lori and I had been so busy gallivanting to Richmond and Windsor, VE Day never crossed my mind.

Around 2:30 p.m. the Abbey Marshalls came out and opened the gate for us to enter the Abbey.

Once inside, we were asked if we wanted to be seated in a section in the choir loft, or in regular seating.  I replied "regular seating."  An usher took Lori and me over to a front row of upholstered chairs near the steps leading up to the altar.  A few minutes later he returned and said, "We wondered who would sit in these chairs."  He went on to explain about the Thanksgiving service attended by the Royal family.  The Queen and Prince Philip sat on special chairs placed on a red carpet, and the rest of the Royal family sat on the upholstered chairs that we were sitting on. They hastily removed the red carpet and Queen Elizabeth's and Prince Philip's chairs following the service, but didn't have time to remove the other chairs used by the Royal family.  I'm quite certain it's the only time in my life that I'll ever sit on a chair used by a member of the Royal family, and truthfully I don't feel any different now that I've done it!  ;-) 

When I got home I went online to search for photos of the Thanksgiving service. I'm sharing two Internet photos that I found, and ironically one of them is from the Detroit News.  In the first photo a red arrow indicates where the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, and Camilla sat in the first row.

[Internet Photo]

In the second photo the red arrows indicate the chairs where Lori and I sat. The usher said I was sitting in the Duke of Kent's chair [the Queen's first cousin], and Lori was in Prince Edward's chair [the Queen's third son, and youngest child].

[Internet Photo]

Following Evensong we went to see Clarence House and St. James's Palace, which stand next to each other, and aren't far from Buckingham Palace.  Clarence House was the Queen Mum's home for almost 50 years.  After the first anniversary of her death [2003] Prince Charles, Camilla, and Prince Harry moved into it as their official London residence. Previously they lived in St. James's Palace, which is where their offices are now located.

The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk is a seven mile long walk taking people through St. James's Park, Green Park, Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens.  The ground plaque below was in St. James's Park.

~ Beautiful gardens in St. James's Park ~

St. James's Park led us out to The Mall where a VE Day parade was held earlier in the day - hence all the flags flying.

I've never taken a selfie or been in one before, but Lori said, "Aw, come on, Mom!"  So I agreed to it. After all, it was Mother's Day, and there's no one I'd rather be photographed with than my firstborn.  

~ The Mall looking towards Buckingham Palace ~

While there were people around the Palace, it wasn't nearly as busy as it was when we were there three days earlier - probably because evening was approaching.

~ St. James's Palace side view ~

~ St. James's Palace built by Henry VIII in the Sixteenth Century ~

Palace Courtyard.  No guards were on duty because no royals currently live there.

Clarence House incorporates the southwest corner of the Tudor buildings of St. James's Palace.

~ Guards at Clarence House, which was built in the early 19th Century ~

After seeing St. James's Palace and Clarence House, we took the tube back to Earl's Court. Lori treated me to dinner at the Blackbird Pub in our hotel's neighborhood.  The Blackbird is housed inside a former bank.

~  Pub Fish and Chips - Yum!  ~

Only one day left to sight see in England... Monday's post.


  1. That's a cute selfie! What a great trip with your daughter - I am enjoying your posts :-)

  2. Wow, you had very special seats for Evensong! And Lori took a great selfie of you two. I'm really enjoying this tour of London.

  3. What a beautiful country England are so fortunate! Thank you for sharing your lovely photographs!

  4. I rarely comment even though I have followed along on your London trip and enjoyed it so much. Love your selfie photo. Would love to have the fish and chips right now. Blessings

  5. What a great adventure you had with your daughter!

  6. Wow, maybe I need to curtsey next time I see you! :) And I think Alex and I had fish and chips at that same restaurant last year!


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