I saw Queen Elizabeth II. And Harry. And Will. And Kate. Oh. My. Gosh.
Today was the Trooping the Colour, which is the official celebration of the Queen's birthday. Starting at Buckingham Palace, the entire royal family rides along the Mall down to an auditorium area where the Queen inspects the royal troops. Then, after about an hour, the royal family comes back up the Mall towards Buckingham Palace, and then comes out onto the balcony and waves at the citizens below. As they wave, tons of planes fly over and it all ends with 9 jets flying across the sky, leaving smoke trails of red, white, and blue behind.
Seeing the Queen is a once in a lifetime experience, so me and my friends made sure we could make the most of it. We got up around 6:30 am and were out of the flat by 7:30. We took the tube over to Buckingham Palace and had the perfect spot picked out to see the parade by 8 am. The wind was pretty cold today and our side was in the shade, so the day was a bit chilly as we waited two hours for the royal family to show up. But we bonded with a woman and her adorable 3-year-old son whose Dad was riding a horse in the parade and the time actually passed by pretty quickly.
Once the royal family pulled out of Buckingham Palace and onto the street, the moment was so surreal to us that we didn't even realize who was riding by until they were well past us. Good thing they were coming by again an hour later! Kate looked so pretty in her pink outfit and hat, with an adorable looking Harry sitting across from her. William was on a horse being the Queen, and I hadn't even realized it was him underneath the uniform and big hat. At least I got some pictures to look back on and figure out who was who! The Queen was flawless as usual, in an elegant blue dress and blue hat with white lace. After the parade, the royal family came out on the balcony around 1 pm and jets flew over with the most spectacular colored smoke coming from their tails.
The entire scene was amazing and the moment is still surreal. Did I really see the entire royal family? I sure did! I feel like I sound like a broken record every single time I post about London, but this experience has honestly been the most amazing experience of my life. Each day brings bigger and better things, and I'm still in shock over it all being real. But it is! And I plan on making my last two weeks here the grandest of them all :)