I went to Windsor Castle by myself today.
Now, if you are a parent going ANYWHERE by yourself is usually a treat. If it doesn’t require the purchase of food or clothing, the attendance of a birthday party, the movement of one or more spawn to multiple locations in which you are allowed five minutes without screaming/singing/other, this can be a SUPER DUPER treat.
Today counts as SUPER DUPER.
I had been meaning, as a good dual citizen of the UK/America, to make pilgrimage to Windsor to look at the wedding attire of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, so known in the media as Harry & Meghan. To be honest I kicked this idea back and forth ever since the word came through the internet that such a display was being put on. The idea of doing anything by myself seemed exceedingly selfish, but, thanks to a winter sports club being on offer for my spawn (he’d far prefer that over looking at china and paintings of people who died a long time ago) I took the opportunity to get some “me time.”
For those considering a trip to Windsor Castle, it’s not really a “kid” place unless your kid likes to wander around and look at things. Windsor, for me, is a supped-up version of the formal living rooms you might find in American homes. Those rooms that are sort of ‘display rooms’ that you see very nice things in but you don’t go into unless you’re doing something like getting a family portrait for Christmas and Easter. But, even then, you feel sort of uncomfortable doing it.
Having been a few times before I initially felt like I knew what I was doing. My general excitement was the fact that I could, if I wanted, listen to every single track of the audio guide without someone tugging at me asking for food/toilet/entertainment. As such I was able to indulge in learning a few new facts which I will store and repeat to a friend or relative at a later date while removing unimportant things like my bank card PIN or full name from my memory. Who needs that info when you explain the reasoning behind the hanging of Tudor portraits!
But, and this I give props to the Windsor peeps for, they changed up how you moved around the castle and sprinkled some of the most fantastic Christmas trees throughout to make the visit special – outside of the wedding exhibit of course. As for the wedding exhibit, it was wonderfully simple. You could tell they wanted to put out the pieces for people to really see. My interest was in the details that a television camera can’t pick up – the lace on the veil and the embroidery on the coats, for example. They made sure you could get pretty close to things and paired it with audio commentary so you understood the reasons behind certain choices for the wedding itself. They were even kind enough to let people through to a usually private area for staff so you could see the steps of St. George’s Chapel.
Being by myself allowed me to linger where I wanted, to listen to what I wanted, and to visit every single gift shop even if I had no intention of buying anything. (I really like their china. If anyone wishes to purchase unnecessary extravagant gifts for me, Windsor Castle China.) I even had a proper people watch with the little picnic I brought with me and listened to all the languages being spoken around me.
I gave off the illusion of a fully mature adult for, like, three hours.
By the end of my trip I felt full up of culture but ready to return to having someone climbing all over me at home despite there being two other perfectly good seats available in the living room (he’s pressing his feet into my sides right now as I type).
So, in short, it was fun to go to Windsor Castle to look at pretty things all by myself. I’m glad I went. I’d totally go again.