On one of my trips to London, with the family, in 1984 we decided to take the kids to the Tower of London. Son No. 1 was then 15 years old and son No. 2 was 11. My father also accompanied Mr. Swiss and I with the kids. I grew up bordering the docklands area of the Tower of London, and often visited when I was a kid with mum on holidays if we had nothing better to do, so it was nothing ne to me or spectacular.
The Queen of England, Elizabeth II, kept her crown jewels in the Tower. She probably did not have room at home. Having few crowns, scepters an orbs would have occupied too much space in the living room(s) and bedroom, not to mention the bathroom, and so she stored it all in the Tower of London. To be quie exact, in the Wakefield Tower. There were many towers but the Wakefield Tower was the tower she used for her Crown Jewels. She did not often use them, Wearing the crown whilst doing the houswork was annoying as it kept falling off her head whilst using the vacuum cleaner
Of coure my kids were excited to see the Crown Jewels: extra price for admission of course – someone has to pay for their upkeep, polishig diamonds can be expensive task and there are enough.The Crown Jewels now had a new thief proof chamber of their own built according to the latest securitiy standards and after an hours waiting time to enter, at the end of a queue consisting of mostly tourists, they let us in. There was only admission for a certain amount of peope at a time. Towers were not built to accomodate thousands, it was not a football stadium.
We entered and there they were in the middle of the tower. Of couse they were nicely placed in an illuminated show case surround by a wooden barrier for safety reasons. My kids were in awe, The only jewellery they had seen up to then were my earrings, bought in a store, and mostly made of cooured glass, but real diamonds? Naturally the Queen’s diamonds were king sized, probably one of the reasons why she did not wear them very often. They would have been a sure reason for a permanent headache.
Of course I was proud to show my sons the treasures of the Royal family and pointed out the main attration, the Coronation crown incorporating one of the biggest diamonds discovered, the Koh-in-noor. I made a pooint of putting my finger, just one finger, or perhaps it was two on the glass window, to point out exactly where this crown was positioned.
It wa then that I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder. Did I see Mr. Swiss sort of stifling a laugh?
“Madam, if you continue to tap the glass protecting the Crown Jewels, a steel blind will descend inside the glass cabinet. All the lights will be illuminated (naturally only the jewels were highlighted by lighting effects), a siren will begin to sound and all the doors will be automatically locked, until the guard appears. Everyone will be locked in for 24 hours.
These were roughly the words of the guy in charge of organising the viewing of one of England’s treasures. He was not one of the Beefeaters employed at the Tower in their old fashioned uniforms. They were retired soldiers and were only there for the tourists. No, it was a real secruty man probably trained in the usage of firearms and bomb detonations. You do not mess with the crown jewels it seems, and definitely not touch the glass screen protecting them.
Yes, on many occasions the tale was told about the day mummy touched the glass cabinet where the Queen’s treasure was kept. Needless to say not only my dad found it very amusing. Mr. Swiss was still laughing when we left, and my kids were still trying to understand what actually happened. I believe all the other tourists in the Wakefield Tower were amused. The day mummy decided to rob the Queen’s Crown Jewels.
Daily Prompt: The Queen’s Treasure