Edinburgh July 2016 – Waiting for a Princess


Day 3, Azamara Club cruise of the British Isles, Day 2 of Edinburgh.

We’re up, breakfasted, and off the ship by 8am as planned. The ship has a shuttle for us to go into Edinburgh and its outside as promised.
We’e excited about walking the Royal Mile again, the weather is beautiful and it’s quite busy, even this early in the morning. We’re headed to the castle at the top of the mile for the 9 am opening. We arrive in time to watch the changing of the guard and are in the gates and buying our tickets by 9:10.

Love the way their kilts swish when they walk!

As soon as we start walking around with our tour headsets it’s evident something’s happening at the castle that day. Having been there just last July the vibe feels different. There are people walking around with formal uniforms, more soldiers and guards, just more activity in general, and nothing to do with tourists.

Once we reached the main square there are formally dressed people waiting in front of the chapel and no nonsense guards at the entrance. Tourists are becoming interested and are hanging around. I asked one of the young soldiers and was told Princess Anne was coming to attend the annual ceremony to mark the loss of the ship Royal Oak which sank in the Scapa Flow in the Orkney islands during WWII. The ship was hit by a German submarine with the loss of 833 lives. Royal Navy divers place a White Ensign underwater at her stern every year. The ceremony Princess Anne is attending is related to the changing of the flag.
Side note: There’s a plaque and memorial in St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall Orkney islands dedicated to those who lost their lives. The ship’s bell and a list of all those who lost their lives is part of the memorial. We’ll be in Kirkwall tomorrow and plan to visit St Magnus Cathedral.

Lots and lots of medals on display, even the clergy is resplendent.

We waited around for quite awhile with guards trying to keep everyone back, finally a black car drove into the square right in front of us and out pops Princess Anne. She quickly walks to the front of the chapel, exchanging a few words with people there, then goes into the chapel without turning around. Acknowledging the people patiently waiting to get a glimpse of her, perhaps a smile, would have been nice.

We’re under a little bit of a time constraint so we finish our tour of the castle and head back to the Royal Mile and the shuttle which will take us back to the ship. Walking down the Royal Mile is always a treat. Edinburgh is clean and friendly, the Royal Mile is a wide stretch of road with shops and restaurants on either side. People are happy and friendly, there are some street carts and buskers scattered along the mile. With the Castle on one end and Holyrood Palace on the opposite end, its fun to walk the length from one interesting and historical sight to the other. Holyrood Palace is closed this week because the queen is in residence – or so we’ve heard. Too little time in Edinburgh as usual. Back to the ship for our 2:30 departure.

We looked it up but still don’t know how these free floating buskers do it.

Back on the ship’s shuttle for lunch and watching the ship get out of Leith harbor!