May 7, 2023
We didn’t venture out to watch the coronation parade on May 6, 2023. Although we had a desire to see and be a part of the pageantry, there were several considerations 1/ it might rain (it did in fact rain some in the early morning) 2/ we wanted to see more than the tops of hats bouncing along the parade route, distanced as we would be from it 3/ we wouldn’t be able to see the ceremony itself inside Westminster Cathedral. We watched from our hotel room as the ceremony took place, with the departure from Buckingham Palace to Westminster, the coronation ceremony itself and then the return. Fortunately for those who attended in person, the rain appears to have stayed at bay until after the Royal family left the balcony of Buckingham Palace. I watched BBC the night before as they showed coverage of the preparations, with rehearsals at night, in full military dress. I can’t imagine the amount of planning and coordination it took for such a vast undertaking to happen without any observable flaws. Security was predictably tight, with over 26,000 security forces in place, and fortunately, no events at all to mar the ceremony.
There has and will be a lot of debate about the monarchy in Britain after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II (the only monarch many in Britain have ever known), whether it’s still relevant (and how). There were some anti-monarchy protests, which the government allowed, but the monarchy is still very popular amongst Britons, generally. The pageantry of the first coronation to happen in 70 years is only something that could take place in Britain and King Charles III will be redefining the monarchy in his own way.
It’s ironic to visit Kensington Palace and Lady Diana’s statue a day after when, had multiple tragic events not taken place, she would have been crowned Queen instead of Camilla. I’m sure those same thoughts came to Princes William and Harry.
It’s been almost exactly 5 years since we visited Kensington and at the time, it was to visit the exhibit about Queen Victoria and her residence here. Today, we’re just visiting the park itself.
Our Tube route took us to the Queesnsway station and the exit was directly across the street from the park. After a few days of mostly cloudy and occasional rainy days (in other words, typical London) today is a partly cloudy day with no rain. We’ll take it!
The park is busy, though not uncomfortably so, with people walking, walking dogs, jogging, some few playing outdoor games, or just sitting and relaxing. Long paths lead us to the central lake, across from which is Kensington Palace.
Kensington Gardens, once the private gardens of Kensington Palace, are among the Royal Parks of London. The gardens are shared by the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and sit immediately to the west of Hyde Park. The gardens cover an area of 265 acres. Kensington Palace is currently the official London residence of the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
We visited the gift shop, which had a separate queue from that of the current exhibit, which was shorter. Afterwards, we enjoyed the gardens, which are in full bloom.
Today is our last day in London before traveling to Paris. So much to do, so much more to see on our next trip here.