If you remember back in December, I attended a very special Christmas event at a very unusual location where you will usually find politicians, ambassadors, high commissioners, diplomats , but not filmmakers, let alone writers or bloggers. The event was hosted by the Speaker of the House of Commons, his RT Hon John Bercow at his residence, the Speakers House in the Palace of Westminster.
Ever year in May, Her Majesty, The Queen Elizabeth II, opens Parliament. A slightly pompous very opulent and colourful event full of tradition and history. Since her ascension, The Queen has opened Parliament every year except on two occasions when she was pregnant- A Queen is entitled to maternity leave right?- When the chance came to attend The State Opening of Parliament at the Houses of Parliament or the Palace of Westminster, I knew I had to attend and be there and experience the whole thing. For us artists, life is there to provide clay for our art or material for our writing and this was definitely a one off in my life. There is a lot of protocol and rules as you can imagine in an event like this, so it wasn’t right to take my camera out and snap away in front of extremely well behaved guests who probably attend year after year. It wasn’t also the place , time or occasion for selfies or to ask guests to take a picture of me just so I could share on the blog.This girl was in her best behaviour and following every rule by the book.
The streets surrounding Westminster were cut that morning as the Queen leaves Buckingham Palace in a carriage procession that makes its way through the streets of Westminster to the Houses of Parliament.This is known as the Royal Procession.I had a privileged view from inside Parliament and took this footage of the Queen and the Royal procession arriving and leaving. I am an animal lover and seeing those beautiful graceful horses marching in Parliament made me emotional. Just how beautiful horses are!
I saw first one carriage and thought, oh there is the Queen!, but it wasn’t, it was a carriage carrying what is known as the “Imperial State Crown” that The Queen wears when delivering her speech in the House of Lords. She also wears the “Robe of State” as she leads the Royal Procession through the Royal Gallery, to the chamber of the House of Lords.This Robe is red velvet and it looked really heavy hence the pageant boys helping the Queen with it.
The Queen delivered her speech as always in the crown of the House of Lords which is stunning and gold and the most opulent and beautiful part of the Palace of Westminster in my humble opinion. The first time I entered the House of Lords, I had a wow moment.If you compare this House with the House of Commons , all you need to do is think in the name itself “The Commons”. They are a world apart. One is grand and all red and gold, the other one is simple, austere looking and green.
On my way out via the historic Westminster Hall, I bumped into the Spanish ambassador and said hi and left after what felt like an special time that will go down in the book of my life as one of those events I have witnessed worth telling my grandchildren about, being part of London 2012 Olympics was one of them, and this one, definitely another one. I hope you enjoyed my pictures and video, I could only take them on my iPhone or compact camera as no point in taking a DSLR with me to such an event.
You can visit Parliament on a commercial tour every saturday or you can attend a debate during the week if you live in the U.K .