After enjoying the festivities of the Royal wedding, and all of the pomp and ceremony that we do so well, Mr. Home and I took ourselves up to Westminster Abbey to see the flowers and to soak up some of that wedding atmosphere that we all watched on Friday.
On arriving at the Abbey, fairly early, we knew that there would be a lot of queuing involved. There were two queues....one for cash and one for card transactions. Not knowing which was which, we got on the end of a queue only to find out that we were in the card queue that was taking an hour longer than the cash queue. Don't you just hate changing queues !! The queue that you started on always ends up being quicker than the other one !! Anyway, we changed queues and began chatting to a couple of lovely Canadian ladies and, before we knew it, after only 45 minutes we were at the entrance to the Abbey.
The next two photographs are not mine as photography is not allowed in the main part of Westminster Abbey.
Tradition dictates that the day following Royal weddings, the floral tribute is sent to the Abbey after the official photographs have been taken.
The Queen Mother began the long standing tradition when her wedding posy was left at the grave, in 1923, after her wedding. She left her flowers in memory of her brother Fergus, who was killed in 1915 during the First World War.
Catherine's bouquet followed the romantic gesture of the language of flowers :
Lily-of-the-valley .... return of love, happiness
Sweet William .... gallantry
Hyacinth .... constancy of love
Ivy .... fidelity, marriage, wedded love, friendship, affection
Myrtle .... the emblem of marriage
The myrtle in Catherine's bouquet are stems from the myrtle planted at Osbourne House on the Isle of Wight by Queen Victoria in 1845 and a sprig from a plant, grown from the myrtle used in the Queen's bouquet in 1947.
The trees looked wonderful and softened the hardness of the abbey's stone walls and were under planted with lily-of-the-valley, strawberry plants with their white flowers and ferns. I was very tempted to pinch a sprig of lily-of-the-valley flowers as a keepsake but resisted as there were so many CCTV cameras and I didn't want to end up in the Tower of London !!!! The flowers will be left at the Abbey until the end of the week for the public to see and then, the trees will be planted at Highgrove, the Prince of Wales private residence, and the other flowers, including, white wisteria trees, white rhododendron, viburnum, Solomon's seal, fern's etc. will be sent to various charities.
After leaving the main part of the Abbey we entered the cloister's where there was a book that we signed for the Royal couple. I thought that you might like to see some of the parts of the Abbey that were not part of the wedding ceremony.
This is the Chapter House which dates back to the 1250's. It is one of the largest in England. The monks met here everyday for prayers and the King's Great Council first assembled here in 1257 and was effectively the beginning of the English Parliament. In the vestibule of the Chapter House is the oldest door in Britain, dated to the 1050's.
This massive double oak door secures the Pyx Chamber, built around 1070. This chamber housed many valuables of the Exchequer.
There are two large rectangular chests in the chamber, dating back to the 13th and 14th century which were evidently made inside the room as they are so huge. Samples of coinage were kept in these chests, called Pyxes, to show that the coinage was pure, by melting the coins down and the silver content measured. This procedure still takes place today in Goldsmith's Hall in the City of London.
The present Little Cloister and the surrounding houses, inhabited by the clergy and staff of the Abbey, stand on the site of the monastic infirmary.The central fountain dates from 1871. On the east side are the ruins of the 12th century chapel of, rather coincidentally, St. Catherine. It is planted with scented plants and was an area set aside for recuperation after illness. This area leads to ..........
.... the College Garden. This was the Infirmarer's garden, used to grow medicinal herbs, fruit trees, vegetables etc. for the occupants of the Abbey. It was in this garden that we saw the infamous ' cartwheeling verger ' having his lunch !!! I don't know if you saw him . If you didn't, he did three cartwheels down the nave, after the wedding !! He has obviously been forgiven !!
This is the entrance to the Abbey where a lot of the action took place !!
We then crossed Westminster bridge, which is painted green, the same colour as the green leather seats of the House of Commons, in contrast to Lambeth bridge which is painted red, the same colour as the red leather seats of the House of Lords. It was then time, after all of the queuing and absorbing of hundred's of years of British history, to go and find a good meal and a drink or three !! ..........
please welcome to the world, our new grandson, Henry Jack who was born on the 23rd April 2011 at 1.20 p.m., the bouncing bundle of 9lb's 8 oz !! .......... I'm afraid that means I've got more celebrating to do !
images 4, via the Daily Mail, image 5, via the wedding guys. all other images by me.