The Queen, The Tower & The Poppies

October 23, 2014

By Tab Byrum

You may remember a post I did this past summer entitled Always Remember, Never Forget on the ceramic poppy exhibit at the Tower of London,  so I was excited that we were going to be able to see the exhibit on our vacation, but what made it even better was when I found out Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth was also going to take in the poppies on one of the days we were in town. 

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The view from our perch on the wall around The Tower of London.

I found this out through the website, The Royal Diary – Future Engagements, a great website to check out if you are planning a trip to the UK and want to see if any royals will be where you are planning to go. 
The website doesn’t tell you the exact time for any of the royal visits, just the day and location, so after seeing she would visit The Tower of London on Thursday I went to The Tower’s website where they announced the main entrance would be closed from 9 am until after lunch on that Thursday, so we knew we needed to go that morning. We arrived at The Tower at 9:30, staked our claim to a spot along the wall and waited. 
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Poppies pouring forth like blood from the walls of The Tower.
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Each of the poppies has been placed in the Tower moat by a legion of volunteers, one by one the poppies are “planted” on metal rods.  More than 800 thousand poppies, each representing a British soldier or Commonwealth Member killed in WWI
While waiting we met a lovely lady named Mary Hutchinson, Mary’s daughter Laura works in PR for The Royal Palaces organization and had told her mother about the visit, she had also told her mum where to stand for optimal viewing, so we stuck close to Mary. Thank you Mary for being so lovely to a couple of blokes from America, tell Paul and Laura Hi. 
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Mary Hutchinson, her son Paul, me and Mike’s chin. 
Right on cue Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived at the Tower just before 11 am, she looked beautiful in a blue/green coat and hat trimmed in black and wearing the Cambridge Emerald Brooch on her shoulder, Mary and I were trying to decide earlier what color she would wear and blue was one of our picks. 
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Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh’s arrival.
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The Queen and Prince Philip walked a path among the more than 800 thousand ceramic flowers, making a stop at a small mound where they were greeted by a Tower guard, he presented The Queen with a wreath of ceramic poppies, they chatted for a few moments then continued on. The Royal couple met the artist/creator of the exhibit and then walked right past where we were standing. 
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This is probably as close as I will ever come to seeing a member of the Royal Family in person, the fact that it was the Queen was really remarkable and to do it in the setting of these beautiful poppies at the Tower was icing on the cake. This was a day we will never forget, beautiful design and royalty. Well done London and long live The Queen!!!
Unless otherwise noted, all photos are my own.

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