Posted by: lifeonislandtime | August 6, 2017

The Keys

So. 3rd trip to London, and we finally get a chance to see the ceremony of the keys. About the time the outer wall of the Tower of London was completed, it was determined that at dusk the tower needed to be locked, so a procedure was developed. In typical British tradition, however, it isn't as simple as just turning a deadbolt and going to bed. This involves several guards, a lantern, guns, swords, and several calls of "All Hail The Queen!"

The ceremony was moved to 10 pm after too many of Wellington's men were locked out after going carousing in Southwark. It's been 10 pm ever since, and has gone on without interruption for over 700 years. Of course, because it's led by Yeoman Warders, they can't resist sending you off with some stories, all the more atmospheric since you are standing below tower green in the moonlight.

At one point the Warder asked if anyone had a place to be and needed to leave, or if we could all stay for a few stories. No one had anywhere to be. I restrained myself (barely) from replying that I was willing to stay the night. Wouldn't that be a story to tell…

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