I have been in the position to see the Queen a number of times over the years. I saw her when I was in Scotland with my mother in 1962 and I have seen her a number of times since. I was talking to a Brit the other day about this and he said he had never seen her in public. The last time I saw her was as she was driving to the 9/11 memorial service for victims of the World Trade Center attack.
The most memorable siting was in the summer of 1975. My brother rented a house on the Thames in the Limehouse district of East London which was on the former entrance to the Regents Canal on Narrow St. The entrance to the canal was blocked but still had ample open space on the quay, enough so that we could work outside when the weather wasn’t bad which is exactly what we were doing in the summer of 1975.
The reason that I left London was because of the weather. I hated the rain, the damp, the dark winters and I hated the absence of warm weather in the summer. My first three summers in London might have had three or four days in aggregate that reached eighty degrees fahrenheit. However, the summer of 1975 was different, it was warm enough that my brother and I, working in near isolation among warehouses, could work in our underwear.
The river was never quiet. It makes you pause when something that is noisy all of a sudden isn’t. I looked up the river towards Wapping and noticed two police cruisers flanking a bigger, sleeker cruiser. I motioned my brother over and asked him what he thought was happening? “The Queen’s on walkabout in Greenwich today,” he said. A minute later, as her cruiser passed within a hundred feet of us, lone figures amidst miles of brick warehouse, we waved at her and she waved back at us. I felt a tad under dressed, but I am certain she understood.