May 1, 2011

How I crashed the Royal Wedding

Since I was already in London this week for an alumni reception my university was hosting, I decided to stick around until Friday when the royal wedding was. I wasn't particularly interested in standing along the route all day, but I did want to see the crowds and how people were celebrating. It was a big British national event and worth having some sort of experience.

I got to the Green Park tube station around 10:30. I thought that I would try walking towards the middle of the Mall thinking the crowds would be thinner there. However, the police were blocking all access to the Mall and the area around it. So I kept walking towards Trafalgar Square. However, it was blocked off too so I headed back to Green Park. It turned out that at some point before anything started, the police had blocked all access to the route and also to the sites where they had set up giant screens. If were weren't on the Mall or at one of the site with the screens really early, they weren't letting you in. I spent some time walking around trying to figure out how to get through. I did get to see some of the Household Cavalry walking towards Buckingham Palace, which was pretty much the extent of the procession I saw.

Eventually I found a spot where people where sitting on the top of a 10 ft high plywood wall on the edge of Green Park. I stood on top of a 3 ft high barrier and pulled myself over the top and on to a small 2X4 ledge on the other side. The other side wasn't the actual park but a rectangular maintenance area. The police then started to yell at everyone standing on the difference sections of the walls to go back to the road or they would arrest use. Some of the other people started to jump into the park so I made my way around the wall (walking on a 2 inch wide ledge) to the park side of the box. By then the police were busy chasing the earlier jumpers. I waited until after this 70 year old Indian guy jumped because I was sure I could out run him. After almost landing on a glass bottle, I ran into the crowd of people watching the screen to hide.

By this point, they were just arriving back at Buckingham Palace. I did get to see them come out on the balcony on the giant screen set up in the park. I had a great view of the flyover and got to buy a copy of the official programme.

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