Excerpt: Catch the red double-decker bus on Buckingham Palace Road — outside Grosvenor House, which was once home to the Dukes of Westminster, but which now holds a luxury hotel owned by an Indian conglomerate and a fancy Cantonese restaurant called the Grand Imperial. Ignore the Starbucks. Breathe deeply and feel as if you’re in the thick of the Great British Empire. If it’s a quiet Sunday, you may get a front-row seat on the bus’s upper level, before the doors close and the cordial but firm female voice of the automated conductor welcomes you aboard Bus '44 to Tooting Station." Many Londoners will be familiar with Bus 44, if only in lore. It’s the route that the father of London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, used to drive. During the city’s mayoral race — which swept Mr. Khan to power last May, with more than 1.3 million votes and the largest personal mandate of any politician in British political history — the “son of a Pakistani bus driver” became, in the words of the BBC, “one of the most hackneyed phrases of Mr. Khan’s time on the stump … so overused in his leaflets and speeches."
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(Photo Credit: Andy Haslam for The New York Times)