14th September, 2022 was our 37th Wedding Anniversary and we were due to go to London and treat ourselves to a cream tea at the Savoy at 14:00 hours. However, our circumstance changed on Thursday, 8th September, 2022 when it was announced that Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II had died.
We decided at that moment to cancel our cream tea and instead go to London to pay our respects. We then heard that the Procession to Westminster Hall of HM The Queen’s coffin was to take place on the Wednesday and so we amended our plans to a much earlier start time, so hopefully we could get a good view of the procession.
Alexa woke us up at 4:30 AM and we set off for our hour and a half hour journey to Richmond, where we always park our car at Old Deer Car Park as it’s not so expensive as further into London and at Richmond you can catch either Underground or Overground trains to the centre of London.
We caught the overland train to Waterloo, which was quite busy and got us into central London at 7:18 AM and we made our way to Westminster.
We found a spot right next to the Cenotaph and decided that would be a good vantage point and so dumped our rucksack and began our long, long wait.
Not long after, a couple of men stood behind us and explained that they had been waiting further up but were moved on by the police as the area was going to be cordoned off at 10.00 AM. We bunched up a little bit and let them stand next to us as they had been waiting for a while already. They introduced themselves and we were surprised when we found out that they didn’t know each other, they just started talking to each other whilst standing by the barrier, their names were Michael and John.
After introducing ourselves, John stated he was off to the Chelsea match later on and then hubby said he was a Spurs fan and Michael stated he was an Arsenal fan, we decided not to talk about football after that!
Although we had assumed our position at around 7.45 AM and the procession wasn’t leaving Buckingham Palace until 2.22 PM, we found there was plenty to keep us amused. We talked about what we all did for a living, which imagine our surprise when John and Michael found out they both worked for the same phone company, at the same headquarters, but because of Covid they were both working from home! It is a small world indeed!
We watched as the road sweepers and dust carts patrolled Whitehall up and down, up and down and once again, making sure the road was spotless and we watched the Police dogs sniffing around drains. I did get a bit worried when one of the dogs lurched towards me, but I think that was more to do with the ham sandwich I was holding!
London was eerily quiet, there were no cars, taxis or buses on the roads, the crowds weren’t noisy, everyone seemed to be in a very thoughtful and respectful mood and when the time approached for the parade to leave Buckingham Palace, the crowd grew silent, there was not a noise to be heard anywhere.
When we strained our ears to hear the music approaching, I had butterflies in my stomach, I couldn’t believe I was going to see this historic event first hand.
The whole procession only took a matter of minutes to pass, but it was incredibly moving and we felt so privileged to have seen this event.
I have uploaded the video I took onto YouTube:
When the procession had passed, we said our goodbyes to Michael and John and made our way to Buckingham Palace. It was very crowded around here and so we didn’t stay very long and we made our way back to Waterloo train station, tired after such a long day, but very pleased we had done it!
The next morning, we woke up to watch the news and saw the queues for the Lying of State of HM Queen, we both looked at each other and we decided that after work the next day, we would go back to London and join the queue – I will let you know how we got on during our 12.5 hour queue….