Sunday, August 21, 2005

Just before catching our plane home we went to Horse Guards to have coffee with our friend Sebastian and see his famous loft size office. Surrounded by the marble busts of his predecessors, the Dukes of Albemarle, Malborough, York and Wellington and the life-size portraits of King George II and Queen Caroline - Major General Sebastian Roberts, sits behind Wellington's desk. He has two jobs and two titles both commanded from the same Headquarters: General Officer Commanding London District - all Army units within Greater London and Major General Commanding the Household Division, all Guards regiments including the 2 Regiments of Household Cavalry, and the 5 Regiments of Foot Guards. The office used to be that of the Commander in Chief of the whole army and the Duke of Wellington was definitely the most famous occupier, he held the post twice, once briefly in 1820, and subsequently from 1842 - 1852. If you are wondering why Sebastian is not in uniform it is because it is an old habit that Army officers serving in London wear plain clothes to work - uniform being for the field or parades. In recent years it has also rendered them less obvious as targets for terrorists. This amazing, gigantic pale green and white stucco paneled office has also a terrific infinite view from it's windows first of Horse Guards Parade and further on of St James's Park! This really was a special treat - grazie mille!
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