RIGHT ROYAL ADVENTURES WITH DAVID
David an avid follower of Her Majesty, subscribes to the Daily Mail, gets the latest Royal gossip, news and checks the Court Calendar. He can tell you anything you might want to know about Balmoral, Sandringham,
Windsor and Buckingham Palace.
Every year he books tickets in January to attend the Ride into Ascot in June.
David has a heart of gold, using these tickets to give elderly folk from Bedford the opportunity to see the Queen. I was thrilled when he invited me to attend the event this year as well.
We set off early on Thursday 18th June 2015, an appropriate day, as it would have been my Mother’s 100th birthday had she lived another 7 months. It was also the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.
On arrival we stopped at the Windsor Farm shop for a cup of coffee and comfort break. The security officer at the gate into Windsor Estate remembered David from his visit on Tuesday. We drove along Dukes Road watching the Queens Derbyshire cattle grazing in the open fields on either side of the road.
We found the designated fenced off area and bagged our picnic spot opposite a specific oak tree where David said we would get a good view of the Queen getting into her carriage about six meters away.
Security officers walked up and down talking to the small crowd of about a hundred people. While we were waiting David interrogated the police officers regarding their equipment and the sniffer dogs. They told him they spoke to the crowds, wore bullet proof vests and wore equipment on their webbing belts. They showed us a pepper spray, whistle and heavy fold up truncheon which we were allowed to hold. I think they also wear a small camera these days that can transmit pictures whilst they are chatting to the crowds. David asked a policeman whether there was a special unit to guard the Queen. He said they could apply to be on the Queens Guard duty and security but it had no more monetary value than regular policing.
Once the scarlet decked footmen arrived in their vehicle David chatted to them. He asked the tall one what job he did and was told he walked the corgis. He stood right behind the Queen on the coach. We chatted to another group of footmen, one was a girl, another a young man from Switzerland. The third one recognised David from previous years so they chatted about his duties, he said it was just like any regular job he did not have very much spare time. They have special livery for Windsor and other colours for Balmoral and Sandringham. Their uniforms are quite old and refurbished. Their black hats are quite heavy; some of them have had a number of owners whose names could be seen on the inside lining. David was not shy to ask the security officer about risk, he was told it was not the crowd, but rather the open areas. A helicopter circled overhead searching the surrounding areas with infra-red heat to detect anyone hiding in the bushes. Several private carriages with people dressed to the hilt drove by before the Queens procession; apparently you can get a package deal which includes all the frills, champagne and carriage, if you can afford it at about £1000.00 per ticket!
The Queen’s cousin arrived dressed in mauve to supervise the order of the horses and carriages. Magnificent grey horses pulled the Queens’s carriage, the other two coaches were drawn by brown horses. Eventually the car containing the Royals arrived and the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen wearing an aquamarine outfit, Edward and Eugenie alighted and climbed into their carriage. Princess Anne, Sophie and Beatrice followed in the other two carriages. The two front outriders faced the Queen’s carriage while she transferred from the motor, once she was in the carriage they turned around and the procession was off. We had an excellent view from our vantage point.
Once the procession had gone, we headed back down the road past the Lodge where Prince Edward lives. David drove up to a gate that leads into the Estate; it suddenly opened. David said he had never been there before so decided to explore and we drove through. The road wound up to the Bronze Horse where we stopped to take photos. From this vantage point we looked at Windsor Castle which stood in all its glory at the end of a very long ride. We returned to the Windsor Farm Store for a cup of tea on the way back and had a meander around the Store where we could have bought meat and produce from the Estate before heading home.
18th June 2015
Deryn van der Tang©