Visit to the Royal Mews
3rd September 2023
Aldersgate Ward Club Visit to Royal Mews followed by afternoon tea at the Clermont Hotel
September 3rd 2023
A small group of members of AWC met on a gloriously sunny day for their visit to the Royal Mews.
Due to the number of Royal ceremonial events over the past year there were many tourists eager to come and visit. The current Royal Mews was built in the garden of Buckingham Palace in 1825. The original Royal Mews was at Charing Cross, on the present site of the National Gallery, from the time of Richard II until the reign of Henry VII. Royal Hawks were kept at the King’s Mews. This is where the hawks moulted their feathers and therefore, they could not be used for hunting. The building was destroyed by fire in 1534 and rebuilt as stables. When George III purchased Buckingham House, as it was then known, in 1762, he moved some of his coaches and horses, commissioning Sir William Chambers to create a riding school there. George IV further added to the buildings. In Queen Victoria’s reign she established a school in the Royal Mews also adding a forge and other buildings.
Today the Royal Mews provides carriages and motorcars for State occasions and visits by Heads of State. The stables have Windsor Greys and Cleveland Bays horses, who are trained there and at other locations. It was a real privilege to see the State Coaches which have been used so much over the past year, with great attention for the artistic creation and gilding. We were extremely fortunate to have such an enthusiastic and excellent guide who provided so much detail as we walked around the area. Thirty horses are normally stabled there. However apart from two who we were able to visit, the others were on holiday in Norfolk. There are eight chauffeurs attached to the Royal Household, two of them being the senior. It was interesting to observe that a number of the Household are accommodated in flats which are above the carriage houses and stables, like a small village. In addition to seeing the magnificent Gold State Coach we also were able to see the Irish and Scottish Coaches along with barouches, landau, phaeton and the Bentley State Car.
Following our visit, we stepped briskly up Buckingham Palace Road for our Afternoon Tea. We were ushered into a beautiful Tea Lounge which has recently been refurbished. The tea was sumptuous and beautifully presented. We were able to relax in comfort on very large cushioned chairs whilst reflecting on our visit.