Friday, May 31, 2013

60th Anniversary of the Queen's Coronation - Fun Facts

I'm a sucker for anything royal. After last year's lovely Jubilee celebrations Queen Elizabeth II is preparing to celebrate the 60th anniversary of her coronation this weekend. Here's some interesting and fun facts I found while researching that eventful day back in 1953.

Princess Elizabeth ascended the throne on February 6, 1952 after the death of her father, King George VI. For the next 16 months there was a period of mourning and planning so that the coronation could take place on June 2, 1953. The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was the first ever to be televised (with many people in Britain buying their first television set to watch the ceremony) and millions of people lined the streets of London to see the new Monarch. Her Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, was against the coronation being televised, but the Queen overruled him. There were 750 commentators speaking 39 languages and it is estimated that more than 20 million people around the world watched the coverage.

  • 8,000 guests were invited to Westminster Abbey.
  • During the ceremony she was handed the four symbols of authority - the orb, the scepter, the rod of mercy and the royal ring of sapphire and rubies.
  • She is the 39th sovereign and the sixth queen to take the oath at Westminster Abbey.
  • Because there was a shortage of footmen for the event businessmen and country squires dressed as servants to help transport dignitaries.
  • Norman Hartnell designed the Queen's dress which included embroidered floral emblems from the countries of the Commonwealth including: the Tudor Rose of England, the Scots thistle, the Welsh leek, Irish shamrock for Northern Ireland, the wattle of Australia, the maple leaf of Canada, the New Zealand fern, South Africa's protea, two lotus flowers for India and Ceylon, and Pakistan's wheat, cotton, and jute.
  • The Queen walked up the aisle of Westminster Abbey to the hymn 'I Was Glad' which is the same hymn Kate Middleton walked up to the aisle at her wedding at Westminster Abbey.
  • Because the anointing oil that is used in a sacred part of the service was destroyed in World War II during the blitz more was needed. The company that made the oil no longer existed. Luckily someone knew the recipe and created a batch with the oils of orange, roses, cinnamon, musk, and ambergris.
  • Future Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards was a nine-year-old choirboy at the coronation.
  • The people of Britain celebrated their new Queen with street parties and fireworks.
  • On the morning of the coronation it was announced that Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay had reached the summit of Mount Everest causing more joy for the nation.
  • After the ceremony, the Queen hosted a coronation luncheon at Buckingham Palace and the recipe of Coronation Chicken was devised specially for the occasion.
  • Acorns from oaks in Windsor Great Park were sent to Commonwealth nations for planting. These trees are known as Royal Oaks or Coronation Oaks.
  • By tradition other foreign Royals do not attend coronations so many were represented by members of their royal family.
  • During Elizabeth's reign there have been 12 US Presidents. She has met all of them except for LBJ.
  • Also during her reign there have been 12 UK prime ministers.
  • Frankie Laine's  'I Believe' was the number one song in the UK the week of the coronation.
  • The best-selling book of 1953 in the UK was the Kinsey Report.
  • The average house price in the UK in 1953 was £2,750.

Thank you, your Majesty for 60 glorious years!

God save the Queen!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

For the Love of Postcards

I love that little square piece of paper. That unexpected little slice of the world that just plops right into the mailbox - surprising and thoroughly exciting!

I received a postcard today and it literally has made my day better.

Postcards are something I have been obsessed with since I was a child. They were the first clue there was something out there beyond the city limits of my hometown. Snapshots of a world out there waiting to be explored by me - eventually.

Since those lovely pieces of paper meant so much to me (and still do) I always arm myself with a postcard list as long as my suitcase when I head out on a trip. If those little guys brighten my day perhaps they will brighten someone else's.

Every once and a while I get a 'thanks for always sending a postcard' from someone here or there. But for someone who sends postcards - I very rarely receive them. So when I do I always cherish it. It goes right in the middle of my chalkboard along with inspiration photos and magnets from my travels. In fact I love receiving postcards so much that I have taken to mailing one to myself when I travel. It's something to look forward to when I arrive home and the euphoria of the trip slowly wears off.

And while still on travel the husband and I always look for vintage postcards when out shopping. I especially love the ones that have been written in large loopy foreign characters. Who wrote it? Did they literally say 'wish you were here'?

So to my lovely friend who took the time to say 'hello' while on her travels - I say thanks! And next time let's go together! I'll even send you (and myself) a postcard!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My London Playlist

I made some significant trip planning progress this week. It must be all the London/ British inspired music I had going in the background. He are some of the songs that fueled me while I continued to plan my upcoming trip to London, Oxford and the Cotswolds! Oh - and the cloudy and cold weather this past week was an added inspirational bonus! I think it was warmer in London yesterday than here in Atlanta!

Classics: These will get your Anglophile patriotic proudness pumping!

Soundtracks: Sit back and listen while the action takes places in a British fashion

Love Actually – fantastic movie that takes place in London during Christmas

Shakespeare in Love – about Shakespeare in love with Gwyneth Paltrow!

Doctor Who – he may travel time and space but he’s partial to Britain, loves a good cup of tea and a fez and a bow tie

Sherlock – the consulting detective sleuths through London 

British Bands/Artists: Love these artists because of their British heritage!

Adele – born in London

Mumford and Sons – the band formed in London in 2007

Coldplay – the band formed in 1996 at University College London

The Beatles – if I need to explain who these guys are…well…

Songs About London

LDN –Lilly Allen - a nice little video of Lilly riding around London (LDN)

London – The Smiths – Morrissey may be anti-monarchy but he loves London

A Day inthe Life – The Beatles – Listed as one of the greatest British songs

Cemeteries of London – Coldplay – who doesn’t love some Coldplay?

City of Blinding Lights – U2 – partly inspired by Bono’s first trip to London – plus I just LOVE U2.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

St. Louis

This past weekend I attended a wedding in St. Louis. It was great to be back in the Midwest! Here are some non-wedding highlights!

Its always free and with lots of great art! 

The Boathouse in Forest Park

When museum fatigue sets in - just head for the nearest outdoor cafe to recharge!

It's always neat to go back and revisit a site. The Arch is still as amazing in person as the first time I saw it nearly ten years ago!