The Royal Mews are the working stables of Buckingham Palace. Around thirty different horses are stabled at any one time, mainly of the Cleveland Bays breed. There are also a few Windsor Greys, who by tradition pull the Queen’s carriage.
Also on display are the Royal Family’s State coaches. Pride of place goes to the Gold State Coach – built for George III in 1762 and covered in 22-carat gold leaf. It is has been used at every coronation for 300 years.
A team of eight horses is needed to pull its colossal weight – more than 4 tonnes – and riders report that it is a most uncomfortable journey!
Other famous carriages include the Irish State Coach (so-called because it was made in Dublin for Queen Victoria), which can be seen at the Opening of Parliament, and the Glass State Coach, bought by George V for use at royal weddings.
History of the Royal Mews
The Royal Mews were originally located on a site near Charing Cross, but when the National Gallery took over the space John Nash built a new venue closer to the Palace.
Drummerboy – “The Royal Mews is where they keep all the horses and State coaches that the Royal Family ride around in. There’s about 30-or-so horses in all – the ones that actually pull the carriages on State occasions. If you want to see a few military horses then you can get a glimpse of those at the Household Cavalry Museum, because they’ve got a bit where you can peer into the stables – the same as the Royal Mews. When you first enter the Mews you get to see a few of the wooden stalls where the horses get groomed, and there were a few munching on their bags too, eating whatever it is that horses eat. Sugar lumps, I’m guessing… continued.”