Update: Great video of the planning and preparations going on at the Royal Mews!
Amidst the speculations surrounding England’s royal wedding preparations, we bet equestrians are most interested in the details of the historic horse and carriage processions that will transport William and Kate to and from their ceremony.
Rumors spread several weeks ago that the horse drawn carriage might be eschewed due to Kate’s equine allergy, but we think this is highly unlikely given the royals’ strict adherence to tradition. (“Claritin is your friend, Kate!” says a sympathetic Mr. Dappled Grey.)
Over 100 historic coaches of various types are maintained at the Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace’s official stable yard and carriage house that was established in 1761. Thirty-four horses, including the ten Windsor Greys and twenty or so Cleveland Bays, also live and work at the Mews.
The Windsor Greys
Who can ever forget the image of Princess Diana, peering from within the Glass Coach at the masses that had gathered for her wedding procession to St. Paul’s Cathedral? While William and and Kate have opted to hold their ceremony at the more “intimate” Westminster Abbey, it is highly likely that Kate too will arrive via the traditional Glass Coach. Named for its large glass windows, the Glass Coach was built in 1881 and debuted as a bridal coach in 1922. It has carried the last three royal brides (Queen Elizabeth in 1947, Princess Margaret in 1960, and Princess Diana in 1981.)
While the Glass Coach appears to be the obvious choice for Kate’s bridal procession, another opulent carriage has also been raised as an option. The Royal Brittania, a 2009 gift to the Queen from the prime minister of Australia, is only the second carriage to join the Royal Mews in 100 years and features wood from various historic British ships and cathedrals, four handblown and cut crystal lamps, 22 yards of silk interior, and door handles set with 24 diamonds and 130 sapphires. It’s also equipped with electric windows, hydraulic suspension, and heating - modern comforts for a modern couple!
The 1902 State Landau
For the return trip to Buckingham Palace, William and Kate are most likely to travel in the 1902 State Landau (as did Charles and Diana). This Landau is a striking, red wheeled beauty frequently used for transporting the Monarchy and it’s open top will provide the best view of the happy newlyweds.
When not performing their ceremonial duties, the horses of the Mews are given regular exercise in the London streets, Hyde Park, and the Mews’ indoor arena. A few are kept as riding horses at Windsor and all spend August and September on vacation in the pastures at Hampton Court.
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