On the Trail of the Royals in London

Buckingham Palace, home of the Royal Family

As a country which has never had a king, Americans have long been attracted and fascinated by England’s royal family.    The City of London is full of attractions and locations related to the royals:

Changing of the Guard – One of the most popular spectacles related to royalty, this tradition takes place at Buckingham Palace and provides great photo opportunities of Guards in their bright red tunics and bearskin hats replacing the other Guards during a 45 minute ceremony.  The job of the Household Troops is to guard the Sovereign; they serve as soldiers in the British Army.

Palaces –Buckingham and Kensington Palaces are closely associated with royalty in recent times, iconic images of Diana and Charles kissing on the balcony at Buckingham Palace post wedding are etched into the memories of many and visitors still leave flowers occasionally at Kensington Palace, Diana’s office home.  However Hampton Court Palace has a much longer royal pedigree.   Hampton Court was the palace of King Henry VIII.

Tower of London – From the palaces where royals lived, to the place that became the final resting place of some, the Tower of London with its Beefeater guards  who tell visitors the stories of those unlucky enough to be sent to the Tower, make this attraction one of the most popular in London.   The Crown Jewels are on display at the Tower of London; the collection consists of over 23,000 gems.

Royal Parks – London’s Royal Parks evolved from land originally owned by the monarchy which functioned as hunting grounds to public parks when the Crown Lands Act passed.   The parks most visited by travelers include Hyde Park, Regent’s Park and Kensington Gardens.

Royal theaters – Many of London’s still popular theaters such as the Royal Court Theatre, Royal National Theatre, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, and others have a history tied to England’s royals.    The first theater in London was built in 1576, followed by the Rose and the Globe.  Many of London’s theaters were destroyed by Cromwell and the Puritans after ousting the ruling king.  When the monarchy was restored new theaters such as the Theatre Royal Drury Lane were built which hosted many of Shakespeare’s plays in the 1740’s and ended up being the home to one of the most famous musicals of all time, My Fair Lady.

Almost anywhere you roam in London you will come across sites that have a royal association, which is one of the things travelers love most about visiting this country with such a different history than our own.

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