The ESU's Queen's Diamond Jubilee Celebration tour to London in June gave thirty-seven American ESU members from 19 Branches the pleasure of being in the midst of Celebrations in honor of Her Majesty's 60-year reign. Prominent in the party was President Emerita of The English-Speaking Union of the United States, Doe Thornburg (center, below).
Most memorable was being on the River Thames, witnessing the Diamond Jubilee Pageant from the historic warship HMS Belfast which provided a perfect vantage point to see Her Majesty, Price Philip and members of the Royal Family pass by in the Royal Barge, centerpiece of the largest flotilla on the River in modern times. As ESU National Board member Vivien Gurfein notes, "After a gorgeous lunch we were summoned on deck to see Her Majesty float by, after which it was tea time!"
The ESU travelers also enjoyed close-up views of the
Royal Carriage Procession to Buckingham Palace, from a private room and balcony of The British Academy at
Carlton House Terrace, former residence of Prime Minister William Gladstone.
Other highlights of the tour included:
A Choral Thanksgiving Service at St. Martin in the Fields, where they were treated to a special reception after the service, arranged by Greenwich Branch President
A private visit to Malplaquet House, a 20-plus room mansion in London's East end built in 1740, now home to Tim Knox, director of Sir John Soane's Museum, and
Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, a leading landscape architect. The house is filled with art and objects of historical and artistic interest;
Two nights' stay at Bowood Estate, a luxurious resort on 2000 acres of rolling "Capability Brown" parkland on the grounds of the home of the Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne. The Marchioness hosted a private reception for the ESU members in the private apartments of her stately home, Bowood House;
An exclusive visit to HRH the Prince of Wales' The Gardens at Highgrove, a garden lovingly nurtured by the Prince himself that, in his words, "delights the eye, warms the hart and feeds the soul."
The ESU Royal Jubilee Celebration Tour was organized by Eric McFerran of Travelong, who also mounted the ESU's two prior Royal Wedding Trips. The travelers made contributions to the ESU to advance the ESU's work. The ESU mission is, "to celebrate English to foster understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, educators, and members," and these travel opportunities that showcase British life and traditions for American members while providing funds for the ESU's educational outreach fulfill the mission royally!
Photos provided by participating members Eric McFerran, Nat Day, Suzanne Geiss Robbins and Michael Kakos.