07 October 2012

Dream BIG: Buckingham Palace at 20 months

In front of Queen's House, Buckingham Palace, London
Last April, every girl believed fairy tales do come true when commoner 'Kate' married Price William. As such, I figure Eloise should be schooled in a possible career option of becoming Queen.

Our tour of Buckingham Palace coincided with both the final day of the Paralympic games and the BBC Proms in the Park. All spelled disaster for road closures so I reluctantly opted for the train to take us to London. An hour later we arrived with no major hiccups and all still eager to visit Queen's house.

My ladies in waiting...
The Future Queen of Something (Eloise) and
Dame Lady Lame (my mom and her pinned ankle)
My coat of arms...
Pram, diaper bag, toys, picnic lunch, snacks, emergency bottle,
back pack carrier, baby reins, camera, tickets

Our Palace tickets included a tour of the Royal Mews. On display were a few of Her Majesty's carriages to include the infamous 1902 State Landau which the Queen used during the Jubilee Celebrations and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge paraded through the streets of London following their wedding celebration. 
Gold State Coach, The Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace

"HORSEY HORSEY!", squealed Eloise, at the sight of the eight model horses required to pull the (nearly) four tonnes Gold State Coach. While she shouted on about the horses, I whizzed her past one of the Queen's private motor cars as an optional modern set of wheels. "HORSEY HORSEY!!", she exclaimed. Back to the Gold State Coach we returned to concentrate (again) on the static horse display. 

Before entering the State Rooms you are advised that:
1) There are no changing rooms or toilets for 1.5 hours
2) No photography is permitted
3) Bags and prams are not permitted in State Rooms and may be collected at the end of tour
4) Ensure tickets are validated before leaving the Palace for complimentary future visits for up to 1-year

I had read the Palace's website children travel tips and had mentally prepared to check the pram and not take any photographs during the tour. I purposely lugged the backpack carrier as the Palace's website mentioned they provide carriers subject to their availability. We queued and cleared the airport-style security screening. As I surrendered the pram, I was told that I must also part with my Little Life backpack and was offered a complimentary hip support carrier. Perplexed and frustrated I strapped on hip support and hit play on the audio guide.
my spine begs to differ with the hip carrier's benefits
Suddenly point #1 and #4 crystallized. 
I must keep Eloise in good spirits either on the hip support carrier (ie: in my arms) ocharging through the Palace on reins for 1.5 hours. 

I must not leave without the stamp to validate the tickets for a return visit moins Eloise. 

Face it, an hour and a half for an adult can be long. Multiply that times x100 and add in tempting "look but don't touch" at every angle and you're seeing Buckingham Palace through the eyes of a 20-month year old. 

The survival game tactic became just that: games. 

hide n' seek: To keep Eloise motivated to walk and off the hip support carrier we searched for Queen in each State Room. Her Majesty proved quite keen to play along and very hard to seek. When a temper tantrum began to rise....we moved on to the next room in hopes of finding the elusive proprietor. 

call the color: Thanks in part to most rooms being named after a color this game got some good use. Green Room, Red Room, White Room. The Music Room got a quick Twinkle Twinkle solo as no dominant color struck Eloise.

spot the tick-tock: Thanks to Hickory Dickory Dock, Eloise loves to spot clocks. The Queen's got a few in every room. Eloise won this game time and time again.

1.75 hours later we leave the State Rooms. Through peripheral vision I believe I recall seeing some artwork lining the Great Hall.
the  Queen's modest back garden

After queuing for our belongings we learned the only exit is across the Queen's gardens. Modest would not be a term to describe the length of the footpath. 

Mom and I needed a cocktail and an osteopath. We shuffled our wearied bodies along the gravel path taking little notice of the flowers and praying to find a taxi waiting on the other side of the wall. We arrived at the pearly exit gates and presented our tickets to validate for a future return only to be told it did not apply to our lousy stumps. 

In exchange for this misfortune, perhaps Her Majesty will take pity and arrange a weekend stay for the three of us in one of her 52 private bedrooms or at least offer a spot of tea in one of her 19 State Rooms

As I tucked Eloise in to bed that night I whispered our mantra, "Remember, it is good to be Queen".

Your faithful servant, 

Commoner Callie

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