Sunday, June 24, 2007

Watching the Ceremony of the Keys

Arrival of the keyholder...
locking up with escort
hats off...
taking the salute & last post.
After a few drinks at the Ship and The Seven Stars, not to mention a bite of lunch last Friday, I was privileged to have obtained tickets for the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. We first had a guided tour of the Tower by an off-duty Beefeater and I must say his presentation was fantastic- if perhaps a little theatrical! It was the historic Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula (St. Peter in Chains) that made the most impression on me. The oldest chapel royal in England is where most of those who died on Tower Hill and six of the seven executed on Tower Green, were laid to rest under flagstones without ceremony in shallow graves. As I contemplated the list of on the West Wall of those executed in the approaching dusk and marvelled at some of the tremendous monuments, one couldn't help marvelling at what a place of beauty and history it was but also of the evil and brutality that had taken place there.
Following a fish and chip supper in the Yeoman Warder's Club within the Tower's grounds (where I did not overcome my lifelong dislike of gin to sufficiently order a Beefeater from an off-duty Beefeater!). We then formed up to watch the Ceremony of the Keys itself.
The ceremony is described HERE but one has to experience it within the setting of the Tower itself to understand the emotion and sense of history it can generate.
I don't envy Southark's Planning Panel though- on Saturday I awoke and heard an article on how the Tower was under siege from new skyscraper like developments. As Red Ken is apparently all in favour, doubtless the gherkin will be joined by similar carbuncles.
Still, a fantastic day out. If you are lucky enough to blag access, it is not to be missed!


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