If you’re a pro republic reader you may want to stop reading now as this is yet another royal post. Last week I found myself in London for the afternoon before a meeting and was near Victoria Station. When on a day out with a friend I had recently discovered that BuckinghamPalace was so close to Victoria. As a tube commuter you forget how London is joined up until you catch a bus. So I headed towards BuckinghamPalace my original destination was the Queens Gallery but en route I found the Royal Mews so I slipped in.
First of all the service at the ticket gate was excellent. It can be these small details that turn a good day out into an excellent day out. I brought a combined ticket and although I could not get a art fund discount you can if you are a British Tax payer you can get your ticket stamped by staff and it validates it for a year! (This scheme is also available at WindsorCastle)
The Mews is HRH Queen Elizabeth’s garage if you like it’s where the carriages are housed the Royal Limo is kept and the beautiful horses are kept. Your audio guide is complementary a nice touch. I found that the audio was very detailed if you have longer than I did then well worth a listen (approx 45 minutes) but I found the carriages spoke for themselves. The iconic Royal Limo was my favourite in the yard. There was elegant that oozed Royalty without being ostentatiousness.
As you move around the Quad you are guided around to the tack room and the stables. Within these stables there are no longer hourses living but former royal carriages and traps. The actual stables were fitted out with beautiful green tiles the horses had generous stall and what looked like rather posh troves.
The next former stables housed a very special carriage, the golden carriage used in her majesties coronation 60 years ago. The details of the carvings covered with gold and the stunning pained panels and the size of it is magical. Disney could not have bettered this carriage, any gal would love to ride in it.
Upon leaving the carriage room I returned my audio and headed to the horses. The first horses were 2 white ones who quite frankly didn’t care that there were people looking at them. In the next room there were 2 grey horses, a bred that Her Majesty the Queen brought from the brink of extinction. It was so lovely to learn about this side of the Queen.
As I exited I got my ticket stamped and headed to the gift shop. It was air conditioned and full of lovely crockery, tea towels and biscuit amongst others things. As tradition has it I brought a postcard. The walk to the Queen’s Gallery was less than 5 minutes. You enter into a space with a big shop to your left. As I had my ticket already I went straight to security. This is through but I wouldn’t want to be there on a very busy day. But the staff again were lovely. So up the stairs I went collecting an audio guide for the exhibition on Tudor & Stuart fashion.
Now if like me you have studied this period of history in any detail you will recognise many of the pictures in the first part of the exhibition. I found in this case the audio guide was very good. The only thing I would say is that audio guides are touch screen and not as easy to use as my own touch phone. It stalled and I had to restart several times but this is a small nit pic. The music segments were very mismatch. If at 31&3/4 I felt old listening to these random pieces of music then I am sure older visitors will also agree, I feel this was unnecessary and did not enhance the exhibition.
The paintings kept getting better tracking the fashions of the Tudor and then the Stuart courts. I was astonished that lace collars were the equivalent status symbol to a Bentley or Jaguar.
I loved the many and various images of dogs within the pictures. My favourite picture was of Charles I, showing him from 3 angles. Every time I see this image I am mesmerized there is just something very sad about it as Charles was to lose his head from his shoulders.
All in all I highly recommend this exhibition. I shall look forward to going back.