Day Seven: Thursday, June 21 Today London was rainy and overcast, but we still managed to have a great time and not let the weather interfere with our plans. The first place we saw was Queen's Square, which is where Francis Parson's studio was located in 1762 and where he painted the portrait of Cunne Shote, who was quoted by a newspaper reporter on June 29, 1762 as saying "he was glad to have his portrait painted, because now his friends would remember what he looked like when he went to fight the French." The original portrait was kept in England, and was added to the Thomas Gilcrease collection more than a half century ago. Today, the portrait is housed at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, OK. Next, we had a brief stop at St. James's Palace, located in central London. The 1762 Emissaries of Peace delegation met King George III at St. James's Palace in the drawing room on July 8, 1762. According to British newspapers, they met for an hour and a half and discussed lasting peace and friendship. However, communication was limited because interpreter William Shorey died at sea, and Lt. Henry Timberlake had only spent three months in Cherokee country prior to the trip. After that, we went to Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guards. The bands were playing and the horses were marching, and it was quite a sight to see. Thousands of people from all over the world gathered in this one spot to witness the event. Then, all of the sudden the band started playing Rogers and Hammerstein’s "Oklahoma!" Since Corey was proudly wearing his syllabary OU shirt, we like to think they played it especially for our group. After Buckingham Palace, we enjoyed lunch at a small street cafe before heading to Westminster Abbey, which the 1762 delegation also visited. Next we stopped at Saddler's Wells Theatre, which was recorded to be one of the one favorite sites of the 1762 delegation. They liked it so much in fact; they visited the site a total of six times during their stay. One of the newspapers reported that the Cherokees enjoyed the wire dancer so much they invited him to come perform in the Cherokee Nation. Saddler's Wells has been rebuilt on the original site several times, and today it is a very modern building hosting a variety of theatrical performances. The original well was uncovered during a recent renovation, and can be seen by appointment only. After leaving Saddler’s Wells, we went back to the hotel, and several of us went to eat dinner together at a delicious Thai restaurant. Everyone has had a great time so far, and we can't believe the trip is almost over. Only one more day left in London – keep reading to find out how the 2012 Cherokee delegation leaves our mark.
Cheers from London!