Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have had a busy week out and about in London. They made a visit to a few of the important buildings in the South Bank area, all during the week of their 66th wedding anniversary.
The royal visits kicked off on Tuesday, when the Duke of Edinburgh travelled to Bankside to attend the official opening of the new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe. He was greeted by Sir David Brewer, Lord Lieutenant of Greater London and Lord Falconer of Thoroton, the Chairman of the Shakespeare Globe Trust.
The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse is named after the man credited with recreating Shakespeare’s Globe Theater in London. The Globe spent £7.5 million fitting out the wooden interior of the Playhouse in an attempt to achieve its founder’s vision for the theater’s complex. The public programme in the new Playhouse will begin in January.
The Duke is a Patron of the Shakespeare Globe Trust. At the opening, he unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion and lit the last of the 100 beeswax candles with which the indoor playhouse will be lit. He later watched a theatrical performance by Globe actors, which featured the enactment of scenes from Hamlet and The Tempest.
On Thursday morning, Her Majesty and Prince Philip visited The Shard where they were welcomed by the Mayor of Southwark, councillor Abdul Mohamed. The royal couple met with the local people and the building’s employees before ascending to the observation deck on the 69th floor, which offered them a bird’s-eye view of the city. There, The Queen met Mark Layden, a 24-year-old apprentice, who showed her Buckingham Palace through an interactive telescope. She commented on how small St. Paul’s Cathedral looked from that high up and was also curious to know where Prince Andrew had abseiled from last year.
Standing at over a 1,000 feet high, The Shard is the tallest building in Europe. Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, it has 87 storeys, the top fifteen of which form the spire of the building. The façade of the landmark is made entirely of glass and almost all the construction materials have been recycled. Construction began in 2009, and was completed three years later in 2012.
Afterwards, The Queen and Prince Philip went up to the outdoor viewing platform on the 72nd floor, where they met with the staff and recipients of the Southwark Scholarship Scheme, a project which helps pay for those students who would not normally have been able to afford to go to University. The Scholarship Scheme is a part of the local council’s Youth Fund, which provides education and employment opportunities for young people in Southwark.
After completing a guided tour along with Irvine Sellar, developer of The Shard, and unveiling a commemorative plaque, Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh continued on to Southwark Cathedral. They were met by pupils from the Cathedral School who cheered and waved their flags as the royals passed, before entering the Cathedral with the Dean of Southwark, the Very Rev. Andrew Nunn.
Southwark Cathedral was originally a parish church which, in the early 20th century, became a cathedral. It is a center for daily worship in London and holds five services each day, all throughout the year. Major additions were made to the cathedral in 2000, including conference rooms, a library, educational center, shop and refectory.
At the Cathedral, The Queen was able to view the Diamond Jubilee Window which was made to celebrate the Jubilee River Pageant. She spoke to Leifur Breidfjord, the window’s artist who hails from Iceland, where his window designs are set to feature on this year’s Christmas stamps. “We are very delighted that Her Majesty has now seen the window which we have installed in her honour,” said the Dean of Southwark about the visit.
The royal pair left the cathedral to the singing of the choir and as she departed, Her Majesty was presented with a posy by the school.