(Aditi receiving her award from Her Majesty The Queen (then Duchess of Cornwall) during an Award Ceremony at St James's Palace in 2021)
Day 3 of the Winners’ Week began with a train ride to Cambridge village. I was ecstatic - have read of this place in various history books and encyclopedias. First and foremost, we headed to the Cambridge University Library, where we were able to view the Special Collection of the Royal Commonwealth Society. This included fascinating items from Queen Mary’s collection, from her Royal Visit to India in 1905-1906. Furthermore, items of great historical significance such as maps, illustrations, figurines and weapons from all corners of the world were displayed too.
It felt surreal to me; viewing the past through such treasures was indeed a novel experience. I especially enjoyed poring over the gold gilded pages of a massive book of paintings, with Queen Mary’s signature at the front.
Afterwards, we were fortunate enough to visit the 14th floor of the Cambridge University Library’s Tower Collection. The lift ride was particularly exciting, and seeing the tall shelves lined with books even better! These books were written on a plethora of subjects, and we were told that some were even rare books.
Then after a quick lunch break, we went to King’s College and saw the College Chapel. The Chapel is famous for its mesmerising Gothic architecture, the stained glass windows and the beautiful rood screen. From the brochure handed out to us, we got to know that choirs are conducted in the Chapel and it is also used as a place of worship. The Chapel provided a quiet, relaxed ambience for all of us to either roam around or sit and absorb the history of the Chapel. The Chapel proved to be a highly informative and enjoyable experience.
As the day drew to a close, we strolled around the picturesque college campus. We walked to the College Bridge installed over the River Cam, taking in the scenic beauty of the place. We saw (to our amusement!) swans and ducks swimming in the river, and people enjoying a boat ride.
Then, we all headed to the train station. We stopped briefly at Platform 9 ¾, at King’s Cross station, which greatly satisfied the Harry Potter fans in our group. Inside the magical entrance to Hogwarts, we took a few photos and shopped for a bit.
Sadly, the next train arrived and we had to leave. Although the day was over, we were glad to have been a part of such a fulfilling experience!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aditi S Nair was an 11th grade student of Sanskriti School in New Delhi when she was announced as the Junior Winner of The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition 2021.
She has always had a passion for writing, and ever since she was young, has enjoyed writing stories and poems. Apart from writing, her hobbies include reading, dancing and gardening. A few of her favourite authors are Khaled Hosseini, Celeste Ng, Ruskin Bond and Madeline Miller.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Royal Commonwealth Society.