Saturday, May 18, 2024

How it started, how it's Going!

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On May 18, 2004, King Felipe VI, then the  Prince of Asturias, married Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano.   Today is their 20th anniversary.

The King and Queen are the parents of two daughters,  Leonor, Princess of Asturias, 18, and 17-year-old Infanta Sofia.

all four photos @Casa Real

Friday, May 17, 2024

Proud Parents: Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley

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 The Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley attended the Thanksgiving Service for the Order of the British Empire at St Paul's Cathedral on May 15.  They were invited because their younger son Lord Oliver was King Charles' page of honour, carrying his train.  Lord Oliver, 14, also served as a Page of Honour at the King's Coronation and the State Opening of Parliament.

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David George Philip Cholmondeley, 7th Marquess of Cholmondeley, is the son of George Hugh Cholmondeley, 6th Marquess of Cholmondeley, and Lavina Leslie.  Lord Cholmondeley's paternal grandmother was Sybil Sassoon.  He is a descendant of Great Britain's first prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole. 

Lord Cholmondeley was the Lord Great Chamberlain during Queen Elizabeth II's reign, succeeding his father in this position in 1990.  Lord Carington succeeded in this hereditary position when Charles became king.  When William succeeds, the position of Lord Great Chamberlain will return to David, or if he is deceased, to his elder son, Alexander.   In March 2003, King Charles named Lord Cholmondeley as permanent Lord-in-Waiting.

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Lord Oliver follows in his father's footsteps as the Marquess, then Earl of Rocksavage, was a Page of Honour to Queen Elizabeth II from 1974-1976.

The engagement between the 7th Marquess of Cholomondely and Sarah Rose Hanbury was announced on June 22, 2009.  They married in a civil ceremony two days later.    The wedding was "very small" and in haste, as the new Marchioness was pregnant.

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 On October 12, 2009, Lady Cholomondely gave birth to twin sons,  Alexander Hugh George and Oliver Timothy George.  Alexander is the heir to his father's peerages and is styled as Earl of Rocksavage. 

When she married,  Rose was a political assistant to Shadow Schools Secretary Michael Gove. She gave up her job because of morning sickness.  

She suffered complications during her first pregnancy, In early October 2009 she was admitted to Queen Charlotte's Hospital although the twins were not due until January.  Her sister, Marina, told the Daily Mail: "Rose is absolutely fine now. It was one of those complications you get with twins. Hopefully, she will be allowed home today or tomorrow. 

"All twins arrive slightly prematurely, and that will be the case for Rose." There are just a few more weeks to go, but we don't know the precise date yet. Actually, as it is twins, Rose has been told she can choose the date herself."

The twins were born by caesarian section three months early, and taken out of the womb at the same time,  Lord and Lady Cholomondely had to choose which son would be the heir.  According to a friend,
"They have decided that the eighth marquess will be the boy who weighed more at birth. There was only eight ounces in it, but they will be a very significant eight ounces.''

 Lady Cholomondeley gave birth to a daughter, Lady Iris Marina Aline in March 2016.

After Lord Cholomondely announced his engagement, to the "beguiling socialite,"  Tim Walker, then the Mandrake columnist for the Daily Telegraph wrote: "No one has had more fun being single than David, but there comes a point when even a man with his energy has to commit himself to one person,'' a friend of Rocksavage tells me. "Rose is delighted that she has succeeded where so many women have failed.''

Sarah Rose Hanbury is 25 years younger than her husband.  She is the daughter of Timothy Hanbury and Emma Longman.  The Hanbury family is landed gentry.   Rose's maternal grandmother, Lady Elizabeth Lambart, daughter of the 10th Earl of Cavan, was one of Queen Elizabeth II's bridesmaids, and her paternal grandmother, Sara, was the daughter of Sir Henry Ralph Stanley Birkin, 3rd Baronet,  

Sir Henry was better known as the racing driver, Tim Birkin.

The Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley live with their three children at Houghton Hall in Norfolk, and Cholmondeley Castle, near Malpas, Cheshire.

Lord and Lady Chomondelely move in the same social circles as the Prince and Princess of Wales.  The Marquess has a major role in Charles III's court.   He and his wife often attend royal events.  His wife has never had an affair with the Prince of Wales.  

Thursday, May 16, 2024

New exhibit at the King's Gallery: Royal Portraits: A Century of Photography


@Lord Snowdon/Camera Press/Royal Collection Trust

The above photo was taken in 1964 soon after the birth of Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, 2nd and youngest child of Princess Margaret and the Earl of Snowdon.  

Lord Snowdon took the previously unpublished photograph to give to Sir John Peel, the royal obstetrician, who delivered all four of the 1964 royal babies between February 29 and May 1.

In this photo:  Princess Alexandra (with James Ogilvy), Queen Elizabeth II (Prince Edward),  Duchess of Kent (Lady Helen Windsor) and Princess Margaret (Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones)

"The art galleries formerly known as The Queen’s Galleries in London and Edinburgh are to reopen as The King’s Galleries with the arrival of their new exhibitions this spring.

The two Galleries at Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Holyroodhouse show changing exhibitions of works of art from the Royal Collection, with the aim of increasing public access to one of the largest and most important art collections in the world. Since 2002, when the buildings were opened in their current form, they have welcomed almost five million visitors.

At The King’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, the summer exhibition Royal Portraits: A Century of Photography will chart the evolution of royal portrait photography from the 1920s to the present day, revealing the stories behind some of the most celebrated photographs ever taken of the Royal Family. From November, Drawing the Italian Renaissance will explore the diversity and accomplishment of drawing across Italy during this revolutionary period, through works by artists including Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Titian.

Following a successful run in London, Style & Society: Dressing the Georgians will be the first exhibition to open at The King’s Gallery in Edinburgh following its 18-month closure for essential maintenance work. Exploring life in Georgian Britain through the fashions of the day, it will be the 40th exhibition to be held in the Gallery since it was opened as a space to share a wider variety of works from the Royal Collection in Scotland.

As part of the organisation’s charitable aim to ensure that as many people as possible can access and enjoy the Collection, Royal Collection Trust is proud to launch a new scheme of £1 tickets for exhibitions at The King’s Galleries in 2024, available to those receiving Universal Credit and other named benefits.

In addition to £1 tickets, The King’s Galleries will continue to offer a range of concessionary rates, while visitors who purchase standard tickets directly from Royal Collection Trust can convert them into a 1-Year Pass, allowing free re-entry for 12 months.

Royal Portraits: A Century of Photography

The King’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace                                                  

17 May – 6 October 2024

For centuries, portraiture has played a vital role in shaping the public’s perception of the Royal Family. Over the past 100 years, no artistic medium has had a greater impact on the royal image than photography.

Royal Portraits: A Century of Photography will chart the evolution of royal portrait photography from the 1920s to the present day, bringing together more than 150 photographic prints, proofs and documents from the Royal Collection and the Royal Archives. The photographs presented in the exhibition will be vintage prints – the original works produced by the photographer, most of which have never been on public display.

The works on show will demonstrate how the Royal Family has harnessed the power of photography to project both the grandeur and tradition of monarchy, and at times an unprecedented sense of intimacy and relatability. The exhibition will examine the changing status of photography as an art form and consider the cultural, artistic, and technological shifts that influenced the work of the most celebrated royal photographers, from Cecil Beaton and Dorothy Wilding to Annie Leibovitz and Rankin.

Archival documents and unreleased proofs will shed light on the behind-the-scenes process of commissioning, selecting and retouching royal portraits. From photographers’ handwritten annotations to never-before-seen correspondence with members of the Royal Family and their staff, these materials will reveal the stories behind some of the most enduring photographs ever taken of the Royal Family.

The exhibition will open with the 1920s and 30s, the golden age of the society photographer. Post-war prosperity and technological advances led to a boom in photographic studios, and members of the British and European Royal Families were among the ‘Bright Young Things’ eager to be captured on camera. Many of the new studios were operated by women, and female photographers such as Dorothy Wilding and Madame Yevonde were among those experimenting with a bolder, more modern aesthetic.

In the mid-20th century, no royal photographer had a greater impact on shaping the monarchy’s public image than Cecil Beaton. The exhibition will present some of Beaton’s most memorable photographs, taken over six decades. These include Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s famed 1939 shoot in the Buckingham Palace Gardens, dressed in her ‘White Wardrobe’ by Norman Hartnell, and Beaton’s original Coronation portraits of Queen Elizabeth II – arguably the most prestigious photography commission of the century. 

Close relationships between royal sitters and photographers will unfold throughout the exhibition, seen most clearly through the lens of Lord Snowdon (born Antony Armstrong-Jones). One of the most sought-after photographers of the 1950s, Snowdon’s unpretentious style soon attracted the attention of the Royal Family, and he became a member of the family himself when he married Princess Margaret in 1960. His remarkably intimate portraits of the Princess, taken both before and during their marriage, hint at the depths of trust and collaboration between them.

The exhibition’s final room will explore the innovations in digital and colour photography that revolutionised the medium between the 1980s and the 2020s. During this period, photography came to be recognised as an art form in its own right, and the perception of the role of the photographer shifted from image-making craftsperson to celebrated artist. From Andy Warhol’s diamond-dust-sprinkled screenprint of Queen Elizabeth II to famed photographs by Rankin, David Bailey, Nick Knight, Hugo Burnand, Annie Leibovitz and more, the bold and colourful works in this room will demonstrate the extraordinary variety, power and at times playfulness of royal portrait photography over the past four decades.

Alessandro Nasini, curator of Royal Portraits: A Century of Photography, said: 'This is the first exhibition from the Royal Collection entirely dedicated to modern portrait photography, an artistic medium that has helped to shape how the world views the British monarchy. We are excited for visitors to discover the beauty and materiality of these original prints, many on display for the first time, and we hope they will also enjoy a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the creative process behind some of these iconic royal images.'"

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Peter Phillips introduces new girlfriend to Queen Camilla

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 In April, Peter Phillips, son of the Princess Royal, confirmed the reports that he and his girlfriend, Lindsay Wallace had split up.  The couple had dated for three years.    Peter and his wife Autumn, divorced in June 2021.

On May 12, Peter attended the final day of the Badminton Horse Trials at Badminton, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Beaufort.  Queen Camilla was also present.  

Peter, 46, was accompanied by his two daughters, Savannah, 13, and Isla, 12, and a new girlfriend, Harriet Sperling.  He presented Sperling to the Queen.

One witness told The Sun: “They looked completely smitten and he was grinning from ear to ear. He looked like the cat that got the cream and acted without a care in the world.”

Peter and Harriet were seen walking hand in hand at the Horse Trials, one of the most prestigious events in the equestrian season.

Harriet is a pediatric specialist nurse with the NHS. In 2009 she was an integral part of the team bringing 3-week-old Phineas Cockerham to the Evaline Children's Hospital in London. The infant had contracted a virus that could compromise his immune system.  He needed to be brought to the Evalina Children's Hospital for treatment.  "Just 20 minutes after receiving the call to collect Phineas, the retrieval team were on our way in an intensive care ambulance,"  Harriet Sperling said in 2009.   Young Phineas was at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Kent, before Harriet's team brought him to London.   Phineas survived.

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Harriet Eleanor Sanders was born in early 1980.  Her birth is registered in Swindon, Wiltshire.  She is the daughter of the late Rupert Hugh Sanders and Mary Elizabeth Hoskins, who married in Cirencester in 1972.  In 1971,  Country Life magazine featured Mary Hoskins as one of its Girls in Pearls portraits.

Rupert Sanders, a solicitor, was a partner with Sanders Brickwood, which merged with Sewell Mullings Logie Solicitors in 2013.

Both of her parents grew up in Gloucestershire. Through her paternal great-grandmother, Dorothy Courage, she is a descendant of the Courage (beer)  landed gentry family.   In 1971, Harriet's paternal grandfather  Major Geoffrey Thomas St. John Sanders served as High Sheriff of Gloucestershire.

Harriet has three siblings, Nicholas Rupert (1975), Louisa Kate (1977), and Rebecca Alice (1986).  Her father's maternal first cousin, Timothy Rupert de Zoete (1942) married Moyra Jane Dawnay (1946), daughter of Sir Peter Dawnay and Lady Angela Montagu-Douglas-Scott, younger sister of HRH Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester.  Moyra de Zoete and HRH The Duke of Gloucester are first cousins. 

Rupert Sanders is the son of Eleanor de Zoete and Geoffrey Thomas St. John Sanders.  Timothy de Zoete is the son of Rupert Edward de Zoete, Eleanor's brother.

 Harriet is a single mother of a 12-year-old daughter, who is likely to be Georgina Isabella Sperling.  


Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard  August 30, 2023


Harriet is also a freelance writer, using her maiden name.   Her most recent article was published in March in Woman Alive, a Christian women's magazine.

"In the earlier years of my journey as a single mother to my daughter, resources were scarce, and the future was uncertain. Yet, in the absence of material security, I discovered the strength and life that comes from true selfless love. A love that is able to be solely devoted to your child."  She sees in the bond of single mother and child "a reflection of God’s unwavering love for us. It teaches us about sacrifice, about the depth of love that is costly and willing to give without expecting anything in return. This journey has deepened my faith, teaching me to trust in God’s plan and to find strength in his love."

According to Daily Mail writer Richard Kay, Peter and Harriet have been dating for a month.  Should this relationship end in marriage,  Kay notes Harriet would be the first NHS nurse to marry into the Royal Family.   Claire Booth, the wife of the Earl of Ulster, heir to the Duke of Gloucester, is a medical doctor and a Consultant Paediatric Immunologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust.

However, Harriet would not be the first nurse in the Royal Family.  HRH Princess Arthur of Connaught, Duchess of Fife (1891-1959) was a registered nurse and ran her own nursing home during the Second World War.

Harriet Sperling is "passionate about early brain development in babies and seeing children thrive" which means she has something in common with Peter's cousin-in-law, the Princess of Wales

A girl for Princess Alexandra of Luxembourg


Princess Alexandra of Luxembourg gave birth to a daughter, Victoire, in Paris on May 14, 2024.  This is the first child for the Princess, 33,  and her husband, Nicolas Bagory.  

Alexandra, the only daughter of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg married Nicolas Bagory on April 29, 2023, in Bormes-les-Mimosas, France.

Victoire is the eighth grandchild of the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess.  

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Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine visit Indija, Serbia

All photos courtesy of HRH Crown Prince Alexander

May 14, 2024

 HRH Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine visited today the town of Inđija, Serbia, to see the monument to Queen Maria in the park of the same name and deliver jerseys for two basketball clubs, a donation from the Crown Prince Alexander’s Foundation for Education and Culture. On this occasion, an exhibition of photographs dedicated to the return of the remains of the Queen Mother to the Homeland in 2013 was opened as well.

Their Royal Highnesses gladly responded to the invitation of the Committee for the Building of the Monument, which is a gift of this group of people to the citizens of Indjija. This is the first public monument to HM Queen Maria in Serbia, and its author is Dr. Jelena Božović Đorđević.

The Crown Prince laid a rose on the monument to his grandmother, while the Board and members of the Kingdom of Serbia Association, who were the first to welcome the body of the blessed Queen upon her return to the Homeland, laid wreaths. Before that, HRH Crown Prince Aleksandar and Deputy President of the Indjija Municipal Assembly Mr. Lazar Vukmirović laid wreaths at the monument to King Peter the Great Liberator, which is located nearby.

"I am grateful to you for preserving the memory of my grandmother, that her spirit, her legacy, her charity, humanity and the immense love she had for our people still live in the collective memory. Queen Maria, King Peter, and all other members of the Royal Family are our role models and inspiration, and my wife and I and the entire Royal family must always look up to them, and always follow their example," said Crown Prince Alexander.

In the continuation of the visit, the Crown Prince officially opened the exhibition "Fulfilled Legacy (from London to Oplenac)" by Mr. Predrag Medenica. Mr. Uroš Parezanović, Head of Public Relations and Protocol of the Royal Palace, as one of those who carried the coffin of the late Queen, spoke about this exhibition that follows Queen Maria's journey from exile in London to her return to the Homeland and finding eternal peace in the family endowment at Oplenac next to her husband, Knightly King Alexander.

On this occasion, on the sports fields of the former Sokol Home and now the Cultural Center, the Royal couple presented a donation in the form of jerseys to the basketball clubs "Železničar" from Inđija and "Hajduk" from Beška. Representatives of both clubs expressed great gratitude for the support of the Royal couple to their teams, and the members of Železničar Club presented the Crown Prince with a gift - a basketball signed by all the players and coaches.

The jerseys are the result of a generous donation from Mr. Danilo Bijelica, CEO of the company "Intec Ltd." from Novi Sad. Namely, the jerseys were purpose-made for the 3x3 basketball tournament, which was supposed to be held at the Royal Palace, as a special send-off for our national team to the Olympic Games and other major competitions, but the plans were disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to help athletes from smaller clubs, who don't have the same resources as the first league ones, the Crown Prince and his Foundation decided to donate the jerseys to these clubs from Srem, thus helping the promotion of sports and a healthy lifestyle among young people. Crown Prince Alexander is very grateful to Mr. Bijelica for his great help. It is a pity that our national team members were not able to play with this equipment, but we are very glad that we were able to help our athletes.

In his welcome, the Chairman of the Committee for Monument, Mr. Predrag Medenica said: "With the words that the citizens of Serbian Athens welcomed your grandfather, the Knightly King Alexander, we welcome you today. Our hearts are filled with joy. On behalf of the Committee for the Building of the Monument, I express my great gratitude for your visit and wish you a warm welcome. Our city has never had more important and beloved guests. Welcome, our dear King!"

The visit ended in the Temple of Holy Emperor Constantine and Empress Jelena, in front of which a solemn reception was held for distinguished guests, and then a thanksgiving service was held for the Royal couple, which was held for the first time on the soil of Vojvodina in the presence of Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine. This gave the visit a very special character.

After the service, His Royal Highness, in the company of the Elder of the temple, Father Bogoljub Milovanović, planted a tree in the church yard as a memory of this visit. 

During the welcoming, Jovana Savić, a student of the Inđija High School, playing the role of Queen Maria gave a monologue especially prepared for this occasion, which talks about the life of the Queen Mother, and the member of the Committee for the Building of the Monument, Mr. Stevo Lapčević also greeted Their Royal Highnesses with an inspiring speech.



all photos Courtesy of HRH Crown Prince Alexander

Belgrade, 14 May 2024 – TRH Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine officially opened the tourist season for 2024 and invited everyone interested in visiting the Royal Palaces to join the tours organized by the Touristic Organization of Belgrade. Before the Royal Family’s return to Serbia, the Royal Compound was closed to the public, and opening it for the tourists was one of the first important decisions of the Head of the Royal Family – HRH Crown Prince Alexander.

“My wife, Crown Princess Katherine and me are very happy to open the Royal Complex for another tourist season! It is almost 23 years now since my family and I came back to Serbia, to our home where we belong. The legacy that my grandfather, King Alexander I, and father, King Peter II, left here, the history and memories of the Royal Compound are magnificent. It is very important that they are conveyed, especially to our younger generation. And I wanted the people of Serbia and the world to be able to see and feel all this history and tradition that our family home has. Since our arrival, it is no longer “a forbidden city”.

If we are not proud of our glorious past, if we are not the ones who cherish it and inform others about it, nobody else would do it for us. Organized touristic tours are the best opportunity to see this beautiful place, know our glorious past, and learn something new. We are happy to welcome you to our home”, said HRH Crown Prince Alexander.

Media representatives who joined the first tour were welcomed at the Royal Palace by Their Royal Highnesses and Ms. Jelena Stankovic, PR of the Tourist Organization of Belgrade. Accompanied by a professional tourist guide, they had the opportunity to enjoy the same tour that the tourists will be able to have at the Complex - the Royal Palace, the White Palace, the Royal Chapel of St. Andrew the First-Called, and the Royal Park.

The tourists will also, when it is available due to their obligations, be greeted by Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine. The tour is a pleasant 1 and a half-hour walk to get acquainted with the history, legacy, and culture of our country.

Ms. Jelena Stankovic thanked Their Royal Highnesses for their cooperation and emphasized once again that the Royal Compound is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Belgrade. 

The Tourist Organization of Belgrade (TOB) organizes visits to the Royal Complex every weekend on Saturdays at 9:30 am and 12:30 pm. Ticket purchased from the Tourist Organization of Belgrade includes organized bus transportation from Nikola Pasic Square to the Royal Palaces - meetings for transport are at 9:30 am and 12:30 pm. The ticket price is 1,500 RSD. The number of people in a group is restricted to a maximum of 30 visitors. 

For information and reservations, tourists should visit the Tourist Information Centre in Belgrade, Knez Mihailova 56, phone: +38111 26 35 622, e-mail:, website

Schools, students, and pensioner associations can visit the Royal Palaces in Dedinje in announced group visits every working day from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm with the mandatory notification to the Office of HRH Crown Prince Alexander at least 7 to 10 days ahead, over the phone +381 11 306 4014 or via e-mail: Each group must consist of at least 10 visitors and up to a maximum of 40 visitors per group. Website: 


As the guest of Crown Prince Alexander, I have had the pleasure of visiting the Royal Compound for different events during three visits to Belgrade.   If you plan a trip to Belgrade, I recommend getting a ticket for this tour.   

Best Free Ticket Ever!


all photos @Marlene Koenig

On Sunday, May 12, I was supposed to see Hair at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA.   When I got home from church, I checked my email.   Glad I did as the performance was canceled due to a cast member's illness.  I called the theatre and exchanged the ticket for next Sunday.

I decided to relax and watch the Nationals game.  I sat on the couch, browsing Facebook.  One post from the local Buy Nothing Group caught my attention.  One member offered seven tickets to the group for the 4 pm tour of the White House Gardens.

The White House Garden Tour is offered two weekends a year.  This was the second of the first weekend.  The other weekend is in October.   The tickets are free.  

I sent a message to the poster and said I would love to go.   I got one of the tickets.  Got into my car -- could have walked to her house -- and picked up the ticket.   I was limited to what I could bring into the gardens.  I grabbed a small fanny pack to hold my driver's license, AAA card, credit card, Metro card, phone, keys, and the ticket.  The NPS and the White House allow cameras.  

The sun was shining by the time I arrived at the White House.  Exclusive tour because it is only for two days.

 I focus on royalty here at Royal Musings, but I want to share my photos from a special day.  It was a fabulous tour.  The House tour does not include the Gardens.  I walked past the Oval Office.  The Marine band played for us.  

Best Free Ticket ever!!!

The tour included images of presidential tree planting

The South Lawn.  This is where the Easter Egg roll takes place,  state arrivals, ceremonies, etc.

The Colonnade 

The United States Marine Band played for us

In the background:  Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial

Aimed the lens to one of the residential windows, hoping to see Willow the First Cat.  I asked WH staff about her.  Willow has escaped from the residential area,  especially if Dr. Biden leaves a door open, but Willow is usually caught and brought back upstairs.  Willow is said to be sweet.  Of course she is.

The Rose Garden

The door behind the table is to the Oval Office

The Oval Office  The Resolute desk given to President Rutherford B. Hayes by Queen Victoria is on the other side of the windows!!!

Swing set for the Biden grandchildren

The tour follows a path toward the Pond and the foundation.  On display is The Beast, the President's car.  It is a Cadillac.  There are ten Beasts in the fleet.

Michelle Obama's Kitchen Garden

Mourning Dove

This leads to the Children's Garden and the tennis courts -- not on the tour!

Most people will never get to experience a White House Garden tour.   I am thankful to the woman who had tickets to share with neighbors, so I could go.