The pandemic year was not kind to the British monarchy, and the Windsors, in turn, were not kind in general. They wandered around maskless, attending super-spreader events. The Other Brother hid his Covid diagnosis for months. The Queen was in very real danger of showing people just how useless she is, because she was unable to grimly perform her duties in public. I remember, a few months ago, one of those royal commentators suggested that the Queen might earn some goodwill if she opened up some of her private parks to the public. Well, she’s doing just that. And it’s still bonkers to me that this welfare queen gets to keep her extensive gardens all to herself in the middle of the damn city!
With lockdown restrictions beginning to ease, the Royal Collection Trust announced this week that many of its stunning royal residences will soon be reopening to the public. Not only will visitors be able to peek inside some of the Royal Family’s favourite haunts, like Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, but they’ll even be able to enjoy a picnic in the famous Buckingham Palace Gardens for the very first time.
Usually a treat reserved for the Queen and her guests, the public will be granted special access to the bucolic site this summer. The Royal Collection Trust announced: ‘Explore Buckingham Palace Garden with unprecedented freedom this summer, and discover for yourself for the very first time its sights before enjoying a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to picnic with views of the Palace. You will be free to wander around the garden’s winding paths at your own pace and experience the beauty and calm of this walled oasis in central London. Among the many features to discover are the 156-metre Herbaceous Border, the Horse Chestnut Avenue, the Plane trees planted by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and the famous lake with its island that is home to the Buckingham Palace bees.’
The Garden will be open to visitors for its special summer season from 9 July to 19 September. If that seems too long to wait, however, guided tours will be on offer even sooner, during weekends from 17 April. Under the supervision of one of the Garden’s ‘expert wardens’, visitors ‘will be given special access to the whole 39-acre grounds in springtime, when the garden is at its fullest, with its meadows carpeted with primroses and bluebells, and its flowering camellias, magnolias and azaleas overflowing with blossoms.’
Guided tours will also resume in the Palace itself – taking in the majestic State Rooms, which encompasses the Ballroom, Throne Room, White Drawing Room, Music Room and more – from 17 April. The traditional opening of the State Rooms, however, which usually coincides with a special themed exhibition, has been cancelled for the second year running on account of the pandemic. Elsewhere, the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Scotland is set to reopen on 26 April and Windsor Castle from 17 May, while Royal Collection Trust shops in London will also reopen from 12 April.
It should be clear that this is absolutely a money-making scheme. BP is releasing a book about the palace and grounds and they’re charging people for entrance into the gardens. The idea of this lush, 39-acre paradise in the heart of London, accessible only to the Queen and her family, is insane to me. It’s equally insane that after all of these years, she’s suddenly opening the gardens up for picnics in a stab of relevancy and a plot to accumulate goodwill. The Windsors have absolutely been outed as desperados.
I’m including photos of the Queen and Charles at Windsor Castle just before Easter.
Photos courtesy of Chris Jackson/Getty (for Buckingham Palace) and Avalon Red.
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