To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Next installment on the London trip.

Sunday morning we went to Kensington Palace.  Getting there was kind of difficult b/c the website gives directions to the nearest tube station but it's kind of vague after that.  Somehow we couldn't see it.  We asked a couple of passers-by and got non-helpful answers but finally somebody told us to go through an alley and there we were.

You see the big statue of William III out front.  It was he who built the original palace.  I didn't get a pic but here it is.

We didn't buy tickets ahead of time and there was some nonsense with getting ours, but we ultimately prevailed.  There were several exhibits.  The first we wanted to look at, and the primary reason for our going, was the Victoria exhibit.  Some of the movie "The Young Victoria" was shot here.  When you look at the stairs she wasn't allowed to go up and down without someone holding her hand, you see how ridiculous that was.  Once her uncle died and she became Queen, of course, that stopped immediately.

Lots of cool stuff to look at.

Here's Queen Victoria's wedding dress.  It's beautiful and simple and she must have been really tiny.

A dollhouse Victoria played with as a little girl, and some of her sketches.  Photography came in while Queen Victoria was still a fairly young woman, but it was ponderous and difficult to take pix like that, so if you wanted to preserve a scene you needed to be able to draw it.  So drawing was an important skill to have and it was taught seriously.  She produced some really charming sketches of herchildren.

And here's a riding habit Victoria had, and a portrait of her wearing it while riding with Albert.

There was a whole lot more to see in this exhibit.  I didn't take pix of it all.  More childhood toys, a lot of stuff about her children.  There was a room devoted to the dreadful story of Albert's dying, and how the family suffered for it.

Another exhibit had Princess Diana's gowns, and F and I walked through but didn't linger much  b/c we'd already seen these when they came to Florida a few years ago.

The rest of the time was spent in the apartments that William and Mary, and later Anne, had.  And these were amazing.

Some tapestries.  The room was dark and you couldn't take flash photographs but I got a couple of pix.  But you can't tell how wonderful these are.  The detail in the pictures - shading so that you see how light struck a garment that hung in folds, for example - is really impressive even before you really think how you'd have to go about weaving that into a tapestry.

Here's just one room in one of the apartments.

We spent a lot of time in these and eventually were hungry.  There's a cafe at the gift shop.  We had delicious roast beef sandwiches and ate them outside even though it was trying to rain, and of course had to spend a little time in the gift shop.  Of course we did.

Eventually we moved outside.  The rain threat had slackened.  The gardens are beautiful, as you may imagine.

There is a lot more to it than this.  You can't, of course, see how cold it was, to F and me at least.  There was an old man sitting on a bench and feeding nuts to squirrels, who were crawling all over him to get them.  He told me he'd been at that park every day for 10 years if it wasn't raining.

From there we went into beautiful Hyde Park.  I wanted to find the Albert memorial.  F was feeling really bad with her cold by then, so she sat on a bench and I went to find it.  Then I came back and found her and said, "I'm sorry, I know you feel really bad, but you have to see this.  You have to.  It's ridiculous."  So F, who had been having conversation with a little girl who mostly spoke French, patiently got up and walked with me ...