Posts Tagged ‘Royal Fusiliers’

On our last full day in London, the group divided again, with some exploring the Natural History Museum (and bringing back interesting stories from the Animals Inside Out exhibit). Another group went to the Tower of London. The oldest complete structure is the White Tower, built in 1078. (The castle in its current form was finished in the 1200s.)  It was originally constructed as a royal residence, but has since become far more famous as a macabre symbol of the bloodier bits of the history of the British monarchy, thanks largely to its use as a prison (mainly in the 16th and 17th centuries) and the execution on the Tower Green of a variety of well-known royal figures, such as Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey, and the imprisonment of Queen Elizabeth I (by her cousin Queen Mary I) and, later, Guy Fawkes. The Tower currently contains the Crown Jewels, as well as formidable displays of armor and weaponry. Also on the grounds is the museum of the Royal Fusiliers, which contains a history of conflicts in which they were involved–among them a total of 35 deployment to Ireland between 1970 and 2007. (The display describes the Fusiliers role as changing from “counter-insurgency to peacekeeping,” an interesting–and British-tinged–interpretation that would undoubtedly differ from a similar summary by the Irish ‘insurgents.’) The museum also includes trophies captured by the Fusiliers on some of their deployments, such as life-sized busts of both Hitler and Mussolini.

After exploring as much of the Tower as possible, we found a pub for lunch, and watched the Queen’s carriage procession down the Mall on television.  After lunch we raced to Millenium Bridge, over the Thames in central London, to watch the flyover (or flypast, as the British call it), which was unfortunately short, due to bad weather, but still incredible, featuring both antique and modern aircraft. We then had some free time, which we spent doing some last-minute shopping (serving the secondary purpose of keeping us out of the chilly rain). After dinner most went out for a last drink as a group before packing for our departure for home.

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the White Tower

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Guard outside the building containing the Crown Jewels

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Traitor’s Gate

 

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Bust of Benito Mussolini captured by the Royal Fusiliers

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