'Royalty & Redcoats'
|Since 1656 the British Monarch has had a personal bodyguard, now known as the household division. One of the most enduring images of British Military History is that of the long, thin line of red coated infantry, pouring out its deadly fire against whichever enemy troops had dared to challenge its supremacy on the field of battle. The Redcoat has fought, marched and died on all five continents of the world, leaving a trail of brave deeds, sacrifice tragedy and heroism unmatched by any other army in the world.
Naturally it has seen its fair share of setback, tragedy and disaster, but it is these events that make the history of the British Army such a wonderful story, join us as we go back in time and follow the History of the Redcoats.
Our 12 day tour will include visits to the Army Museum, Changing of the Guard, and a private visit to Guards Regimental Headquarters. Finally we will cross the English Channel and study and walk the battlefield of Waterloo, perhaps the greatest day in Redcoat History.
'But above them all towers the homely but indomitable figure of the British soldier, the finest all round fighting man the world has seen: who has won so many battles that he never doubts of victory, who has suffered so many defeats and disasters on the way to victory that he is never greatly depressed by defeat: whose humorous endurance of time and chance lasts always to the end'
(Field Marshal Earl Wavell, the soldier and citizen)
Overnight from North America to London.
Arrive in London to be met by your tour Director and driver. Transfer by bus to the 'city of spires' Oxford for a 2 night stay.
Welcome reception and overview of tour.
We will spend today at Blenheim Palace, home of the 11th Duke of Marlborough and birthplace of Winston Churchill. The palace was built for John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, by Sir John Vanbrugh between the years 1705 and 1722. The land and a sum of £240.000 ($10,000,000 today) was given to the Duke by Queen Anne, and a grateful nation in recognition of his great victory over the French and Bavarians at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704.
The greatest treasure within the palace is the 'tapestry' in the Green Writing Room; the most famous panel shows Marshall Tallard surrendering to Marlborough after the Battle of Blenheim.
In the near by churchyard of Bladon is the grave of Winston Churchill.
2nd night in Oxford.
Windsor Castle the impressive castle home of Queen Elizabeth perched on a hill above the River Thames started life as a hunting lodge for William the Conqueror. The castle to perform its prime role as one of the Queen's official residences. The rooms range in size from the intimate Charles 11's apartments to the vast Waterloo Chamber, built to commemorate the victory over Napoleon.
The Royal Collection of art includes masterpieces by Rembrandt. Rubens and Van Dyck. St. George's Chapel founded by Edward 1V in 1475 is the resting-place of 10 sovereigns. The State Apartments, The Gallery, the Albert Memorial Chapel and Queen Mary's Dolls House are all open for visitors. A truly breathtaking visit.
1st Night in Windsor
After breakfast we drive to the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst, where for past 200 years many of Great Britain's finest officers have been trained.
This afternoon a visit to Frogmore House, set inside Home Park a mile south of the castle, the estate came into Royal ownership during Henry V111's reign. Over the years many royal personages have lived here including future kings George V and V1.
The Royal Mausoleum was chosen by Queen Victoria following the death of Prince Albert, when she died 40 years later, her body was placed beside his.
2nd night in Windsor
This morning we will take a driving tour of the actual city. This will include St. Paul's cathedral, Tower Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Westminster.
After lunch there is chance for you to shop or relax in this truly historic and lovely city.
1st night in London.
Before we attend the changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham and St James Palaces, we will have a presentation by a former guardsman about this very Royal tradition.
After guard mounting we hope to arrange a private visit to Wellington Barracks, then the Guards Museum and Chapel and finally to the excellent medal solder shop.
This afternoon we will visit the Tower of London, to see the Crown jewels as well as the fine collection of armor and weapons.
After supper we will witness the ceremony of the 'Keys' when the Tower is locked for the night and then guarded by the Queen's Redcoats.
2nd night in London.
This morning it is the turn of the Household Cavalry as they change the guard at Horseguards, before visiting No 1 London, Apsley House, the residence of the Duke of Wellington.
After lunch we drive to the National Army Museum in Chelsea, where amongst the many fine exhibitions we will see the 'Redcoat' Gallery and the Waterloo map. In 1830 Captain William Siborne undertook a project to produce a 400-foot square battle map of Waterloo. The finished item has 75,000 scale figures and it is depicted as at the final attack by Napoleon's Old Guard at 7.15pm
3rd night in London
Before we leave London this morning, we visit the Honorable Artillery Company at their headquarters in the city of London. Henry V111 gave them their charter in 1537; by 1871 they had been divided two branches, infantry and artillery. Their ceremonial uniform is that of the Grenadier Guards.Driving southeast we head towards the Kent town of Dover where we catch a ferry for the short crossing to Calais in France.
Hotel tonight in Brussels.
The Emperor Napoleon escaped from Elba and returned to France in March 1815, assembling a strong Army and determined to conqueror Belgium and Holland. Crossing the border on the 15 June, he clashed with Prussian Army at Ligny and Wellington at Quatre Bras on the 16th. Wellington withdrew his Army to a chosen position south of the village of Waterloo. On Sunday the 18th the two Armies clashed, repeated attacks by French Infantry and Cavalry against the formidable 'red squares' until finally the Prussians arrived and the French were beaten. The finest day in 'Redcoat' history.
Today little has changed on the battlefield, we will spend some time walking the field including Lion Hill, and visits to Waterloo church, Le Caillou (Napoleon's headquarters) and the Panorama.
2nd night in Brussels.
Today is a chance for a well-earned rest or your own shopping exhibition to fine shops which abound in the capital of Belgium. OR You might like to join us for a scenic driving tour of the sites of this city and a visit to the major museums including the Musee de l' Armee, which has a large collection of documents and weapons relating to the Battle of Waterloo.
Dinner tonight as a group.
Third night in Brussels
Transfer to London airport for return flight to North America.