Celebrating the Centennial in D.C.: 100 Years of Women's Suffrage
Through war and famine, bad decisions and backstabbing courtiers, the British monarchy has endured for almost a thousand years, from William the Conqueror in 1066 to Queen Elizabeth II today. Colorful characters abound, like King Henry VIII and his six wives; and dastardly deeds, such as the disappearance of two princes from the Tower of London, form the heart of many legends and stories.
Journey through London and its surrounding environs as you weave through hundreds of years of history and culture to gain insights into the royal family. In the company of your host, Patt Morrison, hear tales of royal weddings, coronations and funerals, explore majestically appointed State Rooms and discuss the future of the British royal family. Explore the world of Queen Victoria, until recently the longest-serving British monarch, at Kensington Palace; take afternoon tea at the hotel where Kate Middleton stayed the night before her wedding; and visit Frogmore House, which is on the grounds of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s new home and open to the public for a few weeks each year. Tour the Tower of London and Hampton Court and visit Buckingham Palace, open to visitors only when the queen is not in residence. Through it all learn about the magic of the royal family and how it has captivated the world for generations.
Aug 22-28, 2020
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the Household Cavalry, the queen’s mounted bodyguards. See the work that goes into the ceremonial duties and armored reconnaissance of the unit and meet a member of the cavalry.
Meet Carolyn Robb; former Personal Chef to HRH Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry and enjoy her famed Chocolate Biscuit Cake; selected by Prince William for his Groom’s Cake for his Royal Wedding’.
Take a private guided tour of the Palace of Hampton Court to see, through exquisite paintings and tapestries, how the Tudor court ate, slept and lived.
Visit the Tower of London before it opens for the day. With the Duty Exhibitor and a Yeoman Warder, tour the site of royal executions and see the crown jewels.
Have afternoon tea at the Goring Hotel, where Kate Middleton prepared for her entrance into the royal family.
Meet Veronica Levett-Scrivener, a descendent of The Royal House of the Plantagenets and founder of More Than Good Manners, for an afternoon talk on the protocol of the Royal Family
Arrive at London’s Heathrow airport and transfer to the Rubens at the Palace for your six-night stay. Meet your fellow travelers and tour staff this afternoon and take a special tour of Buckingham Palace, open only to travelers in the summer while the queen is at Balmoral. See the lavishly decorated State Rooms where the queen and members of the royal family receive and entertain guests, featuring exceptional treasures from some of the world’s best artists such as Canova and Rembrandt. Visit the Royal Mews, home to historic royal carriages such as the Gold State Coach, and enjoy a tour with one of the wardens. You may even spot a horse or two during your visit. End the day with a welcome reception and dinner to toast the start of a fabulous trip. (B, D)
Start with a special morning visit to the Tower of London. The Duty Exhibitor and a Yeoman Warder will welcome you to the treasury and take you on a tour through the mysterious Tower. See the Bloody Tower, where Prince Edward V and his younger brother Richard mysteriously vanished in 1483; the Royal Armories inside the White Tower, the most iconic castle keep in the world; and the crown jewels, some of the powerful symbols of the British monarchy.
Continue on to Kensington Palace, the childhood home of Queen Victoria and current home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Explore the King’s State Apartments, Queen’s Apartments and the famous Sunken Garden. In your free time, you may want to visit Diana’s Café for a cup of tea or coffee and remember England’s rose. Return to the hotel for a talk with your tour host. Return to the hotel to be greeted by Carolyn Robb; former Personal Chef to the Prince and Princess of Wales. Carolyn gladly shares her most fond experiences of the gourmet cuisine, Royal Tours throughout the world and living at Kensington Palace, all while guest enjoy Carolyn’s famed Chocolate Biscuit Cake; selected by Prince William for his Royal Wedding.
This morning visit Westminster Abbey, the site of many royal occasions from weddings to coronations to funerals. See more than 1,000 years of history in one location as you explore the nave and surrounding rooms. More than 3,000 famous individuals are buried here, including Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots and Richard II.
Travel to St. Paul’s Cathedral, the site of Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilee celebrations, and tour the crypt, the largest in Europe, and the galleries. Sit down for an afternoon tea at the Goring Hotel, where Kate Middleton and her sister Pippa spent the night before Kate’s wedding. Opened in 1910, the Goring is the last family-owned luxury hotel in London and is a favorite of the royals. The Queen Mother was a regular visitor to the hotel, and it was there she made her last public appearance. Queen Elizabeth II, who bequeathed the hotel with a Royal Warrant in 2013, has also hosted her staff Christmas party at the Goring for many years. (B, tea)
Explore Windsor Castle today as you hear more about the current royal family. Witness the pomp and circumstance of the changing of the guard in the Lower Ward before you embark on a tour of Windsor Castle itself. See St. George’s Chapel, the venue for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in June 2018. Walk through the main State Rooms of the castle, where the queen and members of the royal family host official visits from dignitaries around the world. Afterward head to the town of Windsor for lunch on your own.
Explore Frogmore House, on the grounds of the current home of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, on a guided tour this afternoon. Open only in the month of August, Frogmore House has been a royal retreat for more than 300 years, since the time of Queen Charlotte. Paintings created by generations of women of the royal family are on display within the rooms as well as memorabilia from the Royal Yacht Britannia. (B)
Begin the day with a private guided visit to Hampton Court, the seat of power for the Tudor dynasty. It was here that Henry VIII made his home, hosting lavish banquets, displaying expensive art and creating an atmosphere of wealth and privilege to showcase his power and prestige. All six of his wives joined him at Hampton Court, and it is where his son Edward VI was born. Discover how the court lived by visiting the Great Kitchen, which could furnish up to 1,600 meals a day, the Great Hall and the Tudor apartments. View the exquisite paintings and tapestries throughout the palace and stroll through Hampton Court’s vast gardens. In addition, a special exhibit will be open at Hampton Court during our expedition. Commemorating the 500th anniversary of The Field of Cloth of Gold, Henry VIII’s legendary encounter with his great rival, Francois I of France, the exhibit will feature relics from the historic event, as well as from other 16th century English and French courts.
Depart from Hampton Court and head back to London for a private afternoon talk with Veronica Levett-Scrivener about the protocol of the Royal Family. Dine this evening at Simpson’s on the Strand, an iconic British institution that has been serving exceptional food since 1828. (B, D)
After breakfast depart for Clarence House, the current home of Prince Charles and Camilla. Take a guided tour of the principal rooms of the house and learn about its 200-year history. Next explore the world of the Royal Warrant, a valued recognition of goods and services supplied to the households of the queen, Prince Philip and Prince Charles. Visit Charbonnel et Walker, the English chocolatier, and Paxton & Whitfield, a cheese monger to the royals, and get a taste of both foods. This afternoon take a private guided tour of the Household Cavalry Museum and get a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the work that goes into the ceremonial and armored reconnaissance roles of the queen’s mounted bodyguards. Meet a member of the Household Cavalry and see the garrison inspection at the end of your visit. This evening gather one last time to celebrate a successful adventure through British royal history. (B, D)
Travelers depart today on individual flights home.