Royal Wedding Horses & Carriages
Whilst all eyes might be on the bride on Saturday, our eyes will be firmly fixed on the wonderful horses charged with the most important of roles, that of drawing the Royal Carriage safely to St Georges Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle. Here is a sneak preview of the choice of carriage and the beautiful grey horses selected to bare the precious cargo.
As previously announced, following the Wedding Service of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, the newly married couple will travel around Windsor in a horse-drawn carriage, providing an opportunity for members of the public to see them and join in with celebrations.
The carriage that will be used in good weather will be an Ascot Landau, which is one of five kept by the Royal Mews. The Landaus are used every year for The Queen's procession during the Royal Meeting at Ascot.
Two of the Ascot Landaus featured in the Carriage Procession for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's Wedding in 2011, carrying Prince Harry as the Best Man, Maid of Honour and Bridesmaids and Page Boys from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace.
The Crown Equerry, Col. Toby Browne describes the Ascot Landau as a 'wonderfully bright, small, lovely carriage, very easy for people to see – the passengers can sit up quite high. So there's lots of visibility for everybody.'
If it is raining on the day of the Royal Wedding, the Scottish State Coach will be used. The Coach was commissioned in 1830 by Prince Adolphus, The Duke of Cambridge (brother of William IV and grandfather of the future Queen Mary) as a glass 'town' (i.e. enclosed) Coach. His family used it for many years, before it was sold to William Keppel, 7th Earl of Ablemarle who converted in into a semi-state Landau. In 1920 it was presented as gift to The Royal Family for Queen Mary.
In 1968-9 it was extensively remodelled and restored to its original enclosed state, and was used for the first time by The Queen on the occasion of the opening of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh on May 20 1969. Large glass windows and, uniquely, transparent panels in the roof, were features of the new top made specially for the coach, providing a rare view for onlookers as well as extra light for the occupants.
Coachman Natalie Ozanne describes the Coach as 'a big favourite as it has a glass ceiling, so crowds higher up, people positioned higher up – which there will be a lot of in Windsor - can see in, it’s very good for that.'
The Coach is emblazoned with the Royal Arms of Scotland and the Insignia of the Order of the Thistle, unlike all the other carriages, which bear the Royal Arms for England and the Insignia of the Order of the Garter.
The Carriage will be pulled by four Windsor Grey Horses, with a further two acting as outriders. The horses Plymouth and Londonderry will be the two outriders, and Milford Haven, Sir Basil, Tyrone and Storm will be the four pulling the carriage.
Windsor Grey Horses play an important role in the ceremonial life of The Royal Family and the nation, and have been drawing the carriages of successive Monarchs and Members of The Royal Family since Queen Victoria's Reign.
On the day, their carriage will leave Windsor Castle via Castle Hill and process along the High Street and through Windsor Town, returning to Windsor Castle via the Long Walk.
The carriage will be escorted by a travelling Escort of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.