About two o'clock I got a call from Graham and decided to go into town early based on what he told me about the itinerary for the afternoon. Unfortunately it was too short notice for Christa to meet me any earlier so I went in to St James's Park on my own. I found the little girl (and Graham) easily enough, just following the crowds and the noise. I was in a great spot to see her, but not a good place for photos as thin branches were in the way.
She was asleep in her deckchair but soon after I arrived they woke her up and she went for a walk. They were letting children sit on her arms, in the crook of her elbow.
I watched for a while and then went to find Christa. We went straight to Horse Guards Parade and got a reasonably good spot to watch the finale. I couldn't believe how many people were there. I was really glad to have seen so much over the weekend because it took the pressure off to try to get right to the front.
I could only really see by looking to either side of the guy in front or standing on tip toe, but I saw everything. I had to raise my camera well above my head to take any photos for most of the afternoon, so today's shots aren't very well composed and some of them are just plain squint!
We stood around for ages, but eventually the little girl approached from the park, but then turned left and headed up to The Mall. Some more time passed and she reappeared leading the elephant.
They both went into the main arena where the rocket waited. The little girl was dressed in a flying helmet and goggles and lifted into the rocket. The elephant and the little girl said goodbye and the lid was lowered on. The elephant blew steam into the rocket and suddenly silver streamers exploded everywhere. The rocket flared brightly and there were vast clouds of smoke. When they dispersed the lid of the rocket was lifted again, and the girl was gone!
The sultan and his entourage left the elephant, everyone took their bows to rapturous applause and we all went home.
(Well actually Christa, Tanya and I went to look at the cars and then met Aideen and friends for a drink, and then Christa and I had dinner in Melati, but that doesn't sound as neat and tidy an ending.
That was truly one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. I'd consider travelling to see another Royal De Luxe show. I had tears in my eyes when I realised it was all over.)
Full gallery now here.