When I was growing up, my mother who was very, very British was always – ALWAYS – on me about my table manners.
If I had misused a fork or didn’t have my napkin on my lap, she would say, “Is that how you’re going to eat when the Queen invites you for tea at Buckingham Palace?”
As if the Queen would invite me over for tea!
But that’s just what happened! I had tea at Buckingham Palace and my napkin was safe and secure in my lap.
Now when I say I had tea, there were about 5,000 others there as well – but I was in the Palace having tea and sweets!
My mother’s dream/threats came true!
They’ve opened the gilded doors of Buckingham Palace to us mere mortals in celebration of The Queen’s historic Platinum Jubilee.
Before I had tea in the garden, I waltzed through the magnificent State Rooms, sitting down and soaking up the majesty and splendor of it all. I toured the Grand Entrance, walked up the Grand Staircase, sat in the Grand Ballroom and marveled at the private art collection which includes so many masterpieces it could fill three or four museums.
It was absolutely jaw-dropping, freakin fabulous! For all those who say it’s time to get rid of the monarchy – I say no flippin’ chance!
I was queen for a day and it was bloody brilliant.
The Palace was originally ‘Buckingham House’ when it was built in 1703. In 1791, King George III bought it as a gift for Queen Charlotte. It was transformed by the esteemed architect John Nash into what it is today. However, like all good contractors he “accidentally” went over budget and was fired from the job.
Sitting on 39 acres, there are a whopping 775 rooms – including 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 19 staterooms and 78 bathrooms.
Gotta tell you – it’s a bit of a miracle that it’s still standing. The Nazis attacked it nine times during World War II.
In addition to the State Rooms, I got the full Royal treatment – seeing the diamond encrusted tiaras, necklaces dripping in egg-sized emeralds, and the daintiest of diamond bracelets.
I really enjoyed visiting the Royal Mews – home to stables and carriages including the epic 260-year-old Gold State Coach which has been used at every coronation since that of George IV.
This thing is a beast – 23-feet long, 12-feet tall, it weighs over four tons, and needs eight horses to draw it.
I loved seeing the Queen’s iconic portraits taken by Dorothy Wilding. I grew up with these photos which were on stamps and seen in every British classroom, hospital and building until 1971.
I was full of emotions touring the Palace – it was so nostalgic for me.
I thought back to the days when I was a small child looking at the Palace from the outside, peering through the massive gates, in awe of the Guards and the gilding that protected Her Majesty.
Today, as I sipped my tea and ate my Raspberry Royale, I realized I’ve come full circle. Now it’s me who has threatened my kids with “Is that how you’re going to eat at the Palace?”
And you know what – I know they’ll actually come here too, and like me – they’ll know exactly what to do with their pinkies, forks, and napkins!