For the first time in god knows how long I have nothing to do this weekend.
So instead of sitting at home feeling sorry for myself I have decided to go on a hot date in the big city…or should I say with the big city. London and I actually started seeing each other a few months back, but found it pretty hard to keep the flame alive when it was raining all the time.
It’s now been a good while since we last saw each other and I figured it wouldn’t do us any harm to give it another go. And what better place to do so than at the fortress of torture, artillery, beheading and jewelry, the Tower of London.
The Black Prince’s Ruby
The star attraction of the Tower of London would have to be the Crowned Jewels. It is the greatest collection in the world with some 23,578 pieces in total. The value is supposedly priceless but after some crafty manipulation I managed to get the guide to guestimate at around £20,000,000 for the lot.
Amongst the sceptres, swords, robes and other Regalia the crowning glory would have to be the Imperial State Crown, which is made up of over 3,000 gems including the Black Prince’s Ruby.
The Black Prince’s Ruby is worth around £150,000 and has a history bound up in bloodshed and murder to say the least. It was first owned by the King of Granada who was murdered by Peter the Cruel, who gave it to the Black Prince, who died and left it to Richard II, who was killed by Henry V, who was killed by Richard the III, who hid it behind a bush and was picked up by the Tudors Henry VII.
Since then it was almost stolen by the well named Captain Blood, who was captured and for some reason unbeknown to me was not beheaded but given a pension.
Beefeater keeping a watchful eye on the Crowned Jewles
The murder of the Little Princes
The White Tower was built many years ago for big and important reasons that I deem not all that interesting. However, what is interesting is the fact that over the years the building has unraveled one of the greatest murder mysteries in England’s royal history…the murder of the Little Princes.
In 1483 King Edward died leaving the throne to his 13 year old son Edward V. However during the coronation, Kind Edwards brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester, led young Edward and his little brother into the Tower, locked them up and declared them illegitimate. The little princes were never seen again and Richard was crowned King of England.
During demolition works in 1674 two skeletons were discovered in the Tower and were identified as the Princes. The skeletons were subsequently reburied in Westminster Abbey but their suspicious death haunted the Tudors for the rest of their time.
Today the Tower is home to five hundred years of royal armour reflecting the power, personality and size of England’s greatest kings.
Not sure what this says about King Henry VIII then....
The legend of the ravens
Legend has it that the kingdom and the Tower will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the fortress. Over the years the ravens have seen some tough times, especially with the disturbance of WWII, which left only Raven Grip holding fort. Recently, Raven George was dismissed for eating TV aerials and Raven Grog cracked under pressure and was last seen at an East End pub.
Raven Thor and Raven Odin
Beefeaters, or Yeoman Warders are the ceremonial guardians of the Tower of London. Officially they are responsible for looking after prisoners and safeguarding the British Crown Jewels, but unofficially they are male models and tour guides. Their nifty uniforms set them back a neat £7,000, which is well earned considering it takes 22 years in the Armed Forces to qualify for the job.
What more could a girl want
After a long day of wandering around the Tower of London and snacking on overpriced food, we called it a day and head on home. But good old London had one more surprise in stall…
Can’t go wrong with a serenade on the tube
If you would like to go on a date with London…
The easiest way to get there is on the tube, getting off at Tower Hill station. I also recommend you buy your tickets online and get there first thing in the morning. Once the place fills up with other tourists your experience will be somewhat compromised by standing in a long line all day.