As a student, history seemed like something that was unnecessary – like algebra. Hardly a day goes by that I find myself at a loss because algebraic solutions were not required.
History, I’ve learned to understand, effects everything somehow. Don’t get me wrong, I studied hard and made good grades in history – algebra not so much.
Ancient history is interesting, but any dates more than two or three hundred years in the past are difficult for me to keep in chronology. However, recently, I had the opportunity to travel to England and France. History rocks over there!
The time we had to tour the two countries was somewhat limited. My goals included Stonehenge and castles in England; Paris, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and anything else.
Windsor Castle, one of the residences of the Queen, has a history dating back one thousand years! I can barely phantom that anything visible in the twenty-first century could still be standing from that far back in time. We were on a tour so our actual visiting time was limited. We were able to see the changing of the guards and absorb some of the historic energy floating within the protective walls of the expansive compound.
Our small group of five divided and conquered, so to speak. I elected to visit St. George’s Chapel. I am easily impressed by stained glass windows and wanted to see what the royals had within chapel walls. Much to my surprise I was overwhelmed not so much by the windows but by the marble burial caskets. I have to guess that the remains of generations of royals are actually within the life size, intricately carved marble boxes because they are there and above the floor. Other, lesser folks are entombed below the floor, marked only with brass markers embedded in the surface.
If I lived nearby, I would undoubtedly attend at least once – regular Sunday service in the Chapel. Imagine praising whatever greater spiritual being you believe guides you, in a structure so…historic. Local children attend Sunday School there! The magnificent pipe organ of old still in use! History lives! The link below has photos of some of the many halls and places within the walls. Let me just say that it is difficult to imagine myself strolling within the walls in my bare feet. But I would if I had too!
I can’t speak for how I feel about the royal family having so many castles, because that concept is just not part of my personal history. I would think, however, that one castle would do just fine. They are not that far apart…back in time before paved roads maybe it was more difficult to traverse from one castle to another. I guess they wanted to be present in various neighborhoods so the royal subjects felt closer to the reigning monarch. In America, we only have the White House and that seems enough. Just sayin’.
Buckingham Palacehttp://buckinghampalace.londonpass.com/?aid=269&gclid=CNeRhv6Fjc8CFUpahgodnxsKWQ is the main home of the Queen. I really can’t say what the difference is between a palace and a castle; they are both bigger than your average home anywhere. I’d say a palace is bigger but Kensington Palace doesn’t seem as large as Windsor Castle so I have no clue what differentiates one from the other. https://www.viator.com/London-attractions/Kensington-Palace-tours-tickets/d737-a97?pref=02
I can say that Kensington Palace looks less old. It seems less protected by surrounding stone walls. We didn’t go inside Kensington but we did go into the back garden. It was easy to imagine the royal grandchildren playing out there with other neighborhood lads and lasses…even though I didn’t see a swing set or sand box.
Honestly, as a little girl growing up in the middle of nowhere, I never imagined my authentic Prince Charming. Walking through the gates to Hampton Court Palace – across from the hotel where we stayed in Surrey, England – I could visualize myself and my Prince living there…Hampton Court would be my first choice of palaces were I given a choice. https://www.viator.com/London-attractions/Hampton-Court-Palace-tours-tickets/d737-a1393?pref=02
Hampton Court Palace has an incredibly expansive and accessible front lawn. There were an abundance of buggy brigade moms or nannies pushing prams and socializing. Many toddlers were playing and running around on the lawn large enough to be a small park. The River Thames runs along and around the palace grounds. There are so many gardens they have their own brochure. Some of the gardens are accessible, as is the front lawn, without paying admission. The Kitchen Garden among them. My curiosity got the best of me. I spoke to one of the gardeners – imagine that – a hoe in a royal garden!
Of course, the garden is meticulously groomed and plotted. I wondered what became of all the edibles. Each week, there is a Kitchen Garden Market. Regular commoners purchase veggies from the palace garden. I did ask if any abundance not sold or used within the walls was donated to homeless shelters. Not at this time, but hopefully it planted a seed, food for thought let’s say . www.hrp.org.uk for more info on the gardens. Our time was short so we opted for a carriage tour of the gardens.
I again checked out the chapel in the palace. No marble burial boxes. But the pipe organ still plays, and yes, it welcomes a local congregation for regular worship and Sunday school. This blows my mind. I can imagine my snooty self sipping tea out of fine china cups; boasting that my precious progeny attend regular classes each week in the royal chapel at Hampton Court Palace…and I sing in the choir. My mother would have loved that to brag about!