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Anglophile's Guide to the Jubilee Year
The Queen's Golden Year

By Rubin Carson

very Anglophile's heart will skip a few beats at the realization that 2002 is the 50th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Nobody does pomp, circumstance and overstated gold carriages better than the Brits do. Even the 5-star luxury hotels are pitching in and providing bargains, which makes the Jubilee year the best time to visit. If you decide it's time for a holiday in London, don't miss the main attractions.

Timeless Sights

Buckingham Palace and The Royal Mews: No one should miss the chance to see the Queen's place of residence. Buckingham Palace boasts a newly refurbished Queen's Gallery on its grounds, as of May 22. The opening exhibition consists of 450 works from the Royal Collection. At the palace you can also watch the twice-daily Changing of the Guard, which fires the heart more than any Rembrandt or Dali. The Queen is never happier than when near a horse, and the Royal Mews-the stables next to the palace-is where royal steeds are trained. This year's piece de resistance is the Gold Stage Coach, built in 1760 for George III, which still carries monarchs to coronations. The coach gives new meaning to the term "over the top."

Kensington Palace: The world will never forget the oceans of flowers that covered the park of this royal residential compound after Princess Diana's death. The palace makes a fascinating visit at any time but especially during this Jubilee year, when all the royal wedding dresses dating back to Queen Victoria's reign are on display. The pavilion at the rear of the sprawling grounds serves one of the best quick lunches in London.

National Portrait Gallery: This is the one London art experience you shouldn't miss. It's the thinking man's People magazine. England's writers, military leaders, and monarchs are represented through the eyes of legendary painters and photographers throughout the gallery. For the Jubilee year, a whole floor is devoted to rarely seen paintings and photos of Elizabeth II's dynasty.

Hotel Savoy: This hotel is where the Queen held her coronation ball in 1953 (hence the song title "Stompin' at the Savoy"). The hotel houses: Simpson's-in-the-Strand, the legendary prime rib temple; the American Bar, which swings all the time and serves the late Queen Mum's favorite tipple, the Bullshot; and the on-property Savoy Theatre. The Gilbert and Sullivan operettas were originally composed for the Savoy Theatre and they're still the best musicals in town.

The Goring Hotel: This is a boutique jewel near Buckingham Palace, and a favorite dining hideaway for the Royal Family. The Goring is offering Jubilee weekend packages, but since you're probably a devotée of classic British breakfasts (or soon will be), go anytime. The Goring serves the best Scotch kippers in the universe and they come from the Queen's favorite pond, Loch Fyne in Bonnie Prince Charlie country.

Jubilee Events

June 4 Parade:
On June 4, the Gold Stage Coach will take the Queen to St. Paul's Cathedral for a service of thanksgiving. The police are estimating a crowd of 1 million people along the Mall (the roadway leading to Buckingham Palace). Forget the horses and take your own gold coach to the event by hailing one of the 50 Golden Jubilee taxicabs. They're glistening gold, cost no more than a regular cab, you'll feel like royalty with all the admiring stares. There will also be 50 golden buses to transport visitors around town. If you can't make the parade, visit St. Paul's anyway. Sir Christopher Wren spent 35 years building this masterpiece after the Great Fire of 1666 and was so proud of it that he arranged for himself to be buried there.

Concerts at Buckingham Palace: The classical and pop concerts scheduled to take place on the lawn of Buckingham Palace are already sold out, but you can catch the broadcast on giant screens in Green Park or St. James Park, June 1-3. Fireworks will accompany the event.

Trooping of the Color: On June 15 the Queen's birthday parade will be marked by processions on the Mall and a regal presentation of the flag to Her Majesty.

Dinner at the Dorchester: The Dorchester Hotel will feature such Jubilee dishes such as Savarin of Scottish lobster, scallops "Queen Elizabeth," and beef "George VI" with foie gras, artichokes and wild mushrooms. General Eisenhower spent most of World War II here and the haute cuisine and elaborate afternoon tea were probably the reasons.

Light Displays: There will be non-stop fireworks displays throughout the year, and on June 3 the Queen will light the first of a chain of beacons stretching across the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth, and even one in Antartica.

For tips on hot London restaurants, visit the London Dining page.

British Airways

British Tourist Authority

Buckingham Palace
020-7799 2331
Tube stops: Victoria, Green Park, Hyde Park Corner

The Dorchester
54 Park Lane, W1A 2HJ
020-7629 8888
Tube stop: Hyde Park Corner

The Goring Hotel
17 Beeston Pl., Grovesnor Gardens, SW1W 0JW
020-7396 9000
Tube stop: Victoria

Hotel Savoy
Strand, WC2R 0EU
020-7836 4343
Tube stops: Charing Cross, Temple (closed Sun.)

Kensington Palace
Kensington Gardens, W8
020-7937 9561
Tube stop: High Street Kensington

National Portrait Gallery
St. Martin's Place, WC2
020-7306 0055
Tube stop: Leicester Square

St. Paul's Cathedral
St. Paul's Churchyard, EC4
020-7236 4128
Tube stop: St. Paul's

(Updated: 07/02/08 HC)

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