Archive for Westminster Abbey
As write this, London burns at the mercy of horrible rioters. Sorry, no sympathy from me! (So you’ve burned your neighborhood down and now you have a brand-new telly you’ve nicked. Congrats?)
I cannot think of a better time to thumb my nose at these thugs and celebrate my favourite city:
The Tudor connections are many…
- Westminster Abbey, where you can see the tombs of Henry VII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I.
- The Tower of London, where Elizabeth I was imprisoned, Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard were executed and are buried, and Lady Jane Grey may be immortalized in graffiti, among lots of other Tudor history
- Hampton Court Palace, my fave Tudor place!
- The Globe Theatre, although it’s a rebuild of the original theater, is a treasure. The exhibition is described here. The ceiling above the stage (“the Heavens”) is gorgeous, as are the wrought-iron gates at the entrance, in front of which I stand here.
But there’s plenty of non-Tudor London to enjoy as well…
- I’m a big fan of the Natural History Museum (and it’s free!); I especially love their dinosaur exhibits. Rawwrr!
- The Sir John Soane Museum is the most interesting crowded collection of art and “stuff” you will ever visit
- The view from St. Paul’s is simply wonderful. I am enjoying it here.
- The church garden of St. Dunstan in the East is charming.
- The Tate Modern is just fab!
- This may be unpopular but I love eating at the Texas Embassy, near Trafalgar Square. It’s a dependable Tex-Mex menu with decent prices and a fun atmosphere.
- The wonderful National Portrait Gallery is also near Trafalgar Square.
- I hear there’s a charming little residence just off Constitution Hill, but I prefer the Victoria Memorial right in front of said residence.
- There are so many things to love about London in this print by Linzie Hunter
- If you are on Twitter and can only follow one Londoner, make it Laura Porter, the knowledgable and dedicated About.com guide to the City
- There are pages and pages of quotes about the City here
- Here’s a clickable map of places with “hidden London” gems
- Lately I’m reading London: A Biography by Peter Ackroyd. I also like London in the Footsteps of the Famous by Nicholas Best, 360º London by Nick Wood, and Frommer’s Irreverent Guide to London by Baillet and Fitzgerald.
- This page offers London recs from Sir Michael Caine, Arlene Phillips, Heather Small, Tom Aikens, and other famous names
- Please never refer toTower Bridge as “London Bridge.” That’s a different bridge. Thanks. =)
Keep London (and other affected areas such as Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, and Bristol) in your thoughts and prayers during the current abuses. Updates continue to be posted via video and text on the BBC news website.
So I got up at 6 a.m. Eastern Time (and my kids willingly joined me!) to watch The Big Event, snapping the above pic along the way — What an amazing start to the day!
Personal fave moment: Did anyone else catch when Kate’s brother was reading during the ceremony and she was looking all around at the crowd? Prince William was calming reading along, very “I’ve been to a ton of these posh ceremonies,” and something made him look toward Kate. When he saw she had been looking all around, he caught her eye and gave her a little tilt of the head, as if to say “Hello?? All right there? Please don’t act starstruck, dahling, you’re one of us now!”
What else stood out to me?
- Harry as the strapping best man, with that mercurial air about him.
- The bride’s sister in a simple but elegant dress, perfect for her figure
- The lemon-yellow queen, who was kind of an afterthought because everytime the camera was on her we could only pay attention to…
- Princess Beatrice’s fascinator
- The father of the groom looking quite happy and relaxed, yet always with She Who Must Not Be Named
Top it all off with a beautiful, rain-free day and two smooches on the balcony, and that’s a royal wedding for ya!
Elizabeth I and Mary I: Half-sisters as well as total enemies (in their adult lives, anyway). Protestant vs. Catholic, and daughter of “that whore, Anne Boleyn” vs. daughter of “the ex-queen, a.k.a. not my mother, Catherine of Aragon.” As years progressed, the schism between these two ladies widened and widened.
So wouldn’t they be thrilled to know they’d be rubbing elbows in death? For some reason, the girls are buried in the same magnificent tomb in Westminster Abbey. There is an eerie but beautiful aisle on the north side of the Lady Chapel, which asks for silence with little “Shhhh” signs posted on the walls. Within these walls lay the remains of James I’s little daughters, and supposedly those of the Princes in the Tower, Edward V and Richard.
And in a large monument nearby, Elizabeth’s coffin is plopped on top of her half-sister Mary’s. Only Liz’s striking figure is commemorated on the effigy. Mary seems to be an afterthought (although at her funeral in 1558, the new queen Elizabeth provided for every pomp and circumstance). But a plaque tells us she’s in there, so who am I to argue? It reads, ” “Partners both in throne and grave, here rest two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, in the hope of the Resurrection.” Let’s hope they’re getting on better in the Afterlife!