An awesome evening in Buckingham Palace .....! What a privilege! Amid the splendour of the State rooms with their magnificent paintings and with several relevant displays of original letters, photos and other objects from explorations and adventures over the last two centuries, we were all presented to the Queen and Prince Philip who were hosting a Reception to mark the centenary of Capt Scott's final expedition to the S. Pole. The Reception was intended to recognise the accomplishments of those involved in exploration and adventure in all its forms.
I passed on greetings from people in both Cape Town and Simon's Town (where 'Nereida' is presently based while work is completed, ready for sailing on towards Tasmania, NZ and US/Canada, starting in January). Both the Queen and Prince Philip (and 'Britannia') have visited Simon's Town several times in the past - it has been the main Naval base in S.Africa since set up by the British well over two centuries ago.
Among the sailors, I chatted to Ellen Macarthur and Sam Davies and was delighted to catch up with Sydney-based Alex Whitworth of Berrimilla, whom I last saw in Cape Town two years ago after Berrimilla had followed Nereida down the S.Atlantic from the Canaries. I met rowers (Roz Savage, who has recently finished rowing across all 3 largest Oceans in a 26ft rowboat) & kayakers, rock-climbers & mountain-climbers, pot-holers, hangliders and many different Antarctic and Arctic explorers, oceanographers and researchers. All had different and often fascinating stories to tell. I also chatted to a very enthusiastic Princess Beatrice and then to the Duke of Kent who were both clearly thoroughly enjoying the evening and the variety of people there. ( Princess B. took my card, saying she'd like to follow my nonstop attempt next year...)
All in all, the evening was a very relaxed and enjoyable affair in fabulous surroundings!
My Palace outfit!
I passed by a famous store on my way into London... (It got dark at 3.30pm...)
Waiting to drive into the Palace inner courtyard - after the bomb squad had searched the car:
The Royal Standard flies over the Palace - the Queen is in residence.,!
The main gates to the Palace:
The grandiose, gilded Victoria Monument is in front of the Palace: