It isn’t just bows and curtsies for those in attendance at next month’s coronation for King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort. In a news story in The Daily Mail, the Royal Coachman has revealed some of the specialized training that the horses to be used on the day have been undertaking.
Given the immense interest in the coronation, the streets are expected to be lined with throngs of well-wishers who will be making plenty of noise. As any horse person knows, parades with their strange sights and sounds can cause even the most bomb-proof horse to become skittish.
The man who runs the stables at Buckingham Palace is Matthew Power, and it’s at the Royal Mews at the Palace where the iconic and magnificent 260-year-old Gold State Coach is kept. It has been used at every coronation since 1831 and will carry King Charles and Camilla back to Buckingham Palace following their coronation.
“Every time we come back from a daily exercise, the whole village community here in the Mews comes out,” Power explains to the Daily Mail. “They’re all screaming and cheering and everyone who’s not out mucking out is coming out with flags and drums.”
But it isn’t only the noise that is involved in preparing the horses for the big day. Due to the immense four-tonne weight of the Gold Coach, it requires eight horses to pull it. Power says during training runs they put weights in the back to “gradually build up so the horses … get used to pulling such a weight.”
The eight Windsor Greys who pulled the Gold State Coach during Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 will again be put to the traces. But every plan needs a backup, and Powers says that his team is also training some younger horses as a contingency.
In case you’re wondering, the coach is not actually made of gold; it’s made of giltwood, which is a thin layer of gold leaf over wood. Its interior is equally glam with velvet and satin upholstery. There are also three cherubs on the roof to represent England, Scotland, and Ireland.
The coronation takes place on Saturday, May 6.