The Royal Mews:The Windsor Greys, The Horses, The Carriages.

THE HORSES

I think that literally millions of people around the world now know the Windsor Greys.  They pulled the carriage with Harry and Meghan after their wedding.  Last week I visited the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace. I learned that  Prince Harry had to ask permission from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth to have the Windsor Greys pull the carriage. The greys usually only transport the Queen herself! On the day of my visit there were two of the greys there for visitors to see.royalmews-2581royalmews-2584

Luckily for me  one of the grooms was there to take one of the greys out to be ridden. He told me that the greys are Irish Draught breeding and the one he was taking out had an important job coming up later in June: pulling a carriage to transport the Queen at Royal Ascot.

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There are also Cleveland Bays at the Royal Mews and while we had been waiting outside the Mews we had seen several of them come out both ridden and pulling  carriages to practice dealing with London’s traffic.  The Queen has taken an interest in the breeding of the Cleveland Bays and has restored the breed as it was in serious decline previously.

During the time we were inside the Royal Mews the Cleveland Bays and Windsor Greys, who had been out on the road, came back to the Mews.

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There is also a riding arena for exercising the horses, which is thought to be designed by William Chambers, and dates from the 1760s.

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Just like other arenas the horses feet must be picked out on leaving the arena!

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The greys may be “Royal ” horses but they are still horses and this grey decided to put the bay back in his place with a nip on the nose!

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THE CARRIAGES

The Royal Mews is also the place where many of the Royal Carriages are stored.

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The photo above shows the Diamond Jubilee State Coach. This was built to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, this is the newest coach at the Mews. It is over 5m long, weighs over 3 tonnes and needs 6 horses to pull it. The crown at the top is not just decorative. It is the Royal equivalent of a “dash cam”.  It takes video while the coach is moving.

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The photo below shows the coach that transports the Imperial State Crown to Westminster when the Queen opens the parliament. It is placed on the central cushion and travels with two escorts in the carriage.  Our guide told us it is also illuminated from above for the journey!

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The coach below is often used for Royal weddings. On one occasion the bride was late in appearing and as the timing of the transport by horse and carriage to the church had been timed to the split second this lateness threw things into a bit of a panic! Who was the tardy bride?  Any guesses? In our group three of us (all women) guessed correctly. Leave a comment below if you can guess. Hint: the wedding was in the last century!

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And last but certainly not least is the Gold State Coach. This coach is huge (7m long and 3m tall).  Commissioned by George III in 1762, it has been used at every coronation since that of George IV in 1821. It weighs  4 tonnes,  needs 8 horses to draw it and never moves faster than walking speed. Only the Windsor Greys are strong enough to pull this coach. There is a guard who walks behind the coach and has a handle to turn to engage the brakes. It takes 27 meters to bring this massive coach to a halt!

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Even the horses have extraordinary harness as seen here on the model horses.

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Our guide explained that the process of getting the carriage out of this display hall in the Mews takes two days!  A double door has to be opened at the side of the hall and the coach carefully positioned to go through the doors.  It is a delicate operation as the  clearance for the 12 foot high coach is only two inches!

The Royal Mews is worth seeing if you are in London. The guide was excellent, the displays are well laid out and easy to see and it is not too crowded.Another plus is that this is an entertaining visit for children and on the events calendar there are days when special children’s events are planned.

Don’t forget to comment if you know who the tardy bride was!!

25 Comments Add yours

  1. I will inform my driving horses that they have it easy compared to these elaborate harness/carriages at the Mews :)) Dawn

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    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes! I assume they are not having to haul a 4 tonne coach with the Queen in it and loud crowds lining the road! The gold coach is really over the top! Anyway thanks so much for this comment! 🙂

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      1. Thank you — love your photos and post :)) :))

        Liked by 1 person

      2. anne leueen says:

        You are most welcome. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for commenting!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We’ve walked through the Mews, the carriages are really something else. The horses are certainly beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes the carriages and the horses are certainly a glimpse of another world.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very informative and wonderful post

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you glad your found it interesting.

      Like

  4. Those are some very opulent carriages! Must have been incredible to see them up close. Looks like Jerome and I should make our way over there sometime to see them for ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I think you would enjoy it. It is not too crowded and there is an audio guide or a real life guide.

      Like

  5. Irene says:

    Wow! So interesting. Another great reason to go back to London for visit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      It is and it is not overcrowded with visitors at least not if you go in the morning when it opens.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Irene says:

        Wonder how many people visit London and don’t realize this is something they could do. Thanks for the information. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. anne leueen says:

        You are most welcome. I think lots of tourists go to Buckingham Palace but fewer to the Royal Mews. Also we went when it opened maybe later in the day it is more crowded.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. fantastic post 💕💕..the carriages are amazing 👍👍👍 love all the pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Ray. Glad you enjoyed it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Emma Cownie says:

    I visited the royal mews as a child – the stables are very swanky. Who was late, was it Diana?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes! Diana was late. I recall her pouffy dress was also a problem getting into the carriage.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Emma Cownie says:

        I remember watching on the TV as a child and thinking that dress with its train was the most incredible thing ever. Looking back it just seems very 80s and Diana looks so very very young. I read somewhere that she wanted o back out but they made her go through with it, so its not surprising there was a delay!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. anne leueen says:

        Hmmm… it certainly did not go well as a marriage and her death was very sad.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Emma Cownie says:

        An absolute waste of a young life. I happened to visit the Paris underpass where she had her terrible accident (and where two others were also were killed) and it seemed so ordinary. There was a monument to the accident there. Very sad. I remember the press were so vile to her just before her death. The British tabloids can be so vicious.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. anne leueen says:

        The viciousness is not just confined to Britain. And yes they did hound her. I am happy that her sons are carrying on some of her causes.

        Liked by 1 person

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