Family Friendly Open Day

**** Get your tickets for the day here! ****

A rare opportunity to go deep behind the front lines of the Household Cavalry in the very building we protect- Horse Guards, official entrance to Buckingham Palace. Meet the Queen’s bodyguard, go toe-to-hoof with their famous horses, dress up like the soldiers, and see if you’ve got what it takes to protect the Monarch.

Meet&Greet with the Queen’s Cavalry, uniform dress up, quizzes, trails & family challenges throughout the day as well as:
10.00am: Front doors open
10.30am: Talk: The Queen’s Cavalry – how to go from zero to hero
11.00am: Mounted Guard Change   on  Horse Guards Parade
11.30am: Fun for foals:  Messy Play and Arts&Crafts in the Stables Gallery
11.45am: Tour: Heads, hooves & horror stories – a horse-hair-raising history of the Household Cavalry (family friendly)*
12.15pm: Stable Yard   visit: meet a Cavalry Black horse*
1:15pm: Stable Yard demonstration: Cavalry Farrier display*
1.30pm: Fun for foals:  Messy Play  and  Arts&Crafts in the  Stables Gallery
2.15pm:  Stable Yard  visit: meet a Cavalry Black horse*
3.15pm: Talk: Obeying Queen Victoria – preparing for a 125 year old punishment
4.00pm: Garrison Inspection in the  Front Yard, Whitehall
5.00pm: Last entry to Museum
6.00pm: Museum closes

**** Get your tickets for the day here! ****

 

Housekeeping:

  1. 1. All activities are included in  your day’s Museum ticket which is valid for all day entry: advanced booking is recommended- please   buy your tickets here.
    2. Activities marked with a * will require visitors to sign up on arrival on the day; priority will be given on a first-come-first-served basis.
    3. There is one fully accessible washroom and a shop on site, but no catering facilities; we recommend you combine your day at the Museum with a visit to St James’s Park which offers picnic areas, a cafe and washroom facilities.
  2. For any further queries please contact: museum@householdcavalry.co.uk or call 020 7930 3070.

Drum Horse in the Fountain – book signing – Evesham Festival of Words

From politicians to Archbishops and even Oscar winners, meet some of the most fascinating and eccentric men ever to have been let loose on the public.

The DRUM HORSE in the FOUNTAIN & Other Tales of Heroes & Rogues in the Guards By Christopher Joll and Anthony Weldon – talk and book signing, Wednesday 17 April.

The public perception of the Guards is of soldiers used for ceremonial duties and State pageantry and officered, in the words of Lord Mandelson, by “chinless wonders”. But, The Drum Horse in the Fountain demonstrates how far from the mark is this image.

Christopher Joll and Anthony Weldon have captured the careers, accomplishments, follies and the occasional crimes of over three hundred of the officers and men, many of whom have been forgotten or overlooked, who, since King Charles II, have served in the seven Regiments (two Household Cavalry and five Foot Guards) of the sovereign’s personal troops.

Christopher Joll, a former officer in The Life Guards, is now an author and event director, and Anthony Weldon is a former Irish Guards officer turned author and publisher. The two of them have combined forces to produce a riveting account of characters who served in the Household Cavalry and the Foot Guards since 1660, drawing on their extensive experience of both arms of the Sovereign’s Household troops.

Join Christopher Joll for a talk and book signing on Wednesday 17th April at Evesham Festival of Words.

Drum Horse in the Fountain – book signing – National Army Museum

From politicians to Archbishops and even Oscar winners, meet some of the most fascinating and eccentric men ever to have been let loose on the public.

The DRUM HORSE in the FOUNTAIN & Other Tales of Heroes & Rogues in the Guards By Christopher Joll and Anthony Weldon – talk and book signing, Friday 1 March.

The public perception of the Guards is of soldiers used for ceremonial duties and State pageantry and officered, in the words of Lord Mandelson, by “chinless wonders”. But, The Drum Horse in the Fountain demonstrates how far from the mark is this image.

Christopher Joll and Anthony Weldon have captured the careers, accomplishments, follies and the occasional crimes of over three hundred of the officers and men, many of whom have been forgotten or overlooked, who, since King Charles II, have served in the seven Regiments (two Household Cavalry and five Foot Guards) of the sovereign’s personal troops.

Christopher Joll, a former officer in The Life Guards, is now an author and event director, and Anthony Weldon is a former Irish Guards officer turned author and publisher. The two of them have combined forces to produce a riveting account of characters who served in the Household Cavalry and the Foot Guards since 1660, drawing on their extensive experience of both arms of the Sovereign’s Household troops.

Join Christopher Joll for a talk and book signing on Friday 1st March at the National Army Museum.

Horse Guards from around the world

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/horse-guards-from-around-the-world-tickets-51140046255

Description:
Join us for another exciting Museum ‘late’ (drinks and all) as we take a fascinating look at Mounted Bodyguards from around the world- from our own Household Cavalry to France, Sweden and Denmark in Europe and on to the Indian sub-continent. With a special talk from the liaison officer between The Light Cavalry HAC and the Presidential Bodyguard Indian Army.

Timings:
18:00hrs: Doors open, drinks on arrival
18:30hrs: History of the Household Cavalry and an overview of the French, Swedish and Dutch mounted bodyguards from Alice Pearson
18:45hrs: Talk on the Presidential Bodyguard Indian Army from special guest speaker Steve Lake
19:00hrs: Optional tours and access to the permanent collection
19:45hrs: Last orders
20:00hrs: Event ends

Speakers:
Steven Lake: ex-Household Cavalryman, current liaison officer between The Light Cavalry HAC and the Presidential Bodyguard Indian Army
Alice Pearson: Director of the Household Cavalry Museum

Guest speaker biography: Commissioned in the regular Army in 1990,   Steven Lake  started what was to become a marvellous early career full of life time experiences and worldwide excursions. Highlights included passing The Royal Marine Commando Course and being awarded an MBE when a Lieutenant.  Now working at Burberry Ltd. Steve finds time once again for his greatest and life time passion for all things equestrian. A keen polo player and a member of The Light Cavalry Mounted Troop, HAC, Steve has more recently volunteered to be the liaison officer with The Indian Presidential Body Guard and The Light Cavalry.

Trooping The Colour

Trooping the Colour, in layman’s terms, is the Queen’s birthday parade, which has taken place since 1748. It’s annual – birthdays tend to work like that – and, since the 1950s, has always fallen on the second Saturday of June, the monarch’s official celebration.

This year, it falls on June 9. Although Her Majesty The Queen’s actual birthday is April 21st, her ‘official birthday’ is marked by Trooping the Colour, a ceremony which is always held in June. This was a tradition begun by Her Majesty’s great-grandfather, King Edward VII, who chose to set it in June to compensate for the vagaries of British weather, particularly given that his own birthday was in November! However, the history of Trooping the Colour is much older; on the battlefield, the principal purpose of a regiment’s Colours was to provide a rallying point in the chaos of battle. Given how easy it was for troops to become disoriented and separated from their unit during conflict, it was the habit to have the colours of the Regiment displayed for the troops so they could familiarise themselves with the colours. This was done by having young officers march in between the ranks of troops formed up in lines with the Colours held high. So, what today is a great tradition began life as a vital and practical parade designed to aid unit recognition before a battle began.

After travelling from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards Parade, the Queen inspects around 2,000 members of the Household Division and Horse Guards, made up of 1,400 soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians, who give Her Majesty the royal salute. Then the Colour is Trooped – that is, a regimental flag (the ‘Colour’) is paraded (‘Trooped’) in front of the Queen. Though the flag changes yearly, it will always come from one of the five regiments of the Foot Guards regiments (either the Scots, Welsh, Irish, Grenadier and Coldstream Guards). This year, the 1st Battalion of the Irish Guards will be providing the Colour, the first time they have done so since 2009. Their Colonel is Prince William, who took the position in 2011. Back in the 1700s, the flag would be shown off so all troops would recognise it in battle.

This parade is not a simple wave, followed by a brisk dismissal however: it is an extravagant display of military prowess, involving over 100 commands, and following strict timings. Troops begin to form at 9.15am, but things begin properly at 10.45am when the Queen leaves Buckingham Palace to begin her grand birthday parade down to Horse Guards Parade, which she reaches at 11am. Her Majesty then reviews the soldiers before heading back to the palace. At 12.52pm, there is a cannonade of artillery, followed by a Fly Past over Buckingham Palace by the Royal Air Force at 1pm.

Until 1987, the Queen rode alongside the Guards – including in 1981, when she was shot at by a member of the crowd who was later arrested – but now watches the entire parade from a carriage. Her Majesty has attended the event every year bar one since taking the throne in 1953: in 1955, a National Rail strike necessitated the cancellation of the event.

Trooping the Colour is taken extremely seriously every year, with troopers participating in the display taking up to 12 hours to prepare their uniforms and a reported 1200 pots of polish used each year. The streets also need taking care of: a team of road sweepers is employed by the Royal Parks to clear up after the horses, which can leave up to 4.5 tons of manure behind during the event.

For those of you who weren’t lucky enough to get tickets for the event at Horse Guards, it will be possible to view the ceremony from along the Mall and within St. James’s Park.

Royal Oak Day

Today is of course the May Bank Holiday, but previously, it was celebrated as Oak Apple Day or simply Royal Oak Day, to commemorate the restoration of the English monarchy in May 1660. Appropriately celebrated on the birthday of King Charles II (the founder of the Household Cavalry, who had been born on May 29th 1630), Parliament declared it a national holiday “to be for ever kept as a day of thanksgiving for our redemption from tyranny and the King’s return to his Government, he entering London that day”.

Traditionally,  celebrations to commemorate the event often entailed the wearing of oak apples  or sprigs of oak leaves, in reference to the occasion after the  Battle of Worcester during the English Civil War in September 1651, when the then Prince Charles  escaped the Roundhead  army by hiding in the boughes of an oak tree near Boscobel House, Shropshire.  Anyone who failed to wear a sprig of oak risked being pelted with bird’s eggs or thrashed with nettles.

Although the holiday was formally abolished by the Anniversary Days Observance Accordance of 1859, it is still acknowledged in certain parts of the country, and the date is accorded some significance in local or institutional customs. It is, for instance, kept as Founder’s Day at the Royal Chelsea Hospital, which was founded by Charles II in 1681.

Image copyright: National Gallery

So It Begins…

Today is a significant day in the Household Cavalry’s calendar, for today sees the beginning of a month’s worth of rehearsals for the celebration of the Queen’s official birthday (more commonly known as Trooping the Colour). The soldiers of the Household Division have just over a month to prepare themselves for the role they’ll play in the pageantry and spectacle you may see on Saturday 17th June this year.

Although Her Majesty The Queen’s actual birthday is April 21st, her ‘official birthday’ is marked by Trooping the Colour, a ceremony which is always held in June. This was a tradition begun by Her Majesty’s great-grandfather, King Edward VII, who elected to set it in June to compensate for the vagaries of British weather, particularly given that his own birthday was in November! However, the history of Trooping the Colour is much older; on the battlefield, the principal purpose of a regiment’s Colours was to provide a rallying point in the chaos of battle. Given how easy it was for troops to become disoriented and separated from their unit during conflict, it was the habit to have the colours of the Regiment displayed for the troops so they could familiarise themselves with the colours. This was done by having young officers march in between the ranks of troops formed up in lines with the Colours held high. So, what today is a great tradition began life as a vital and practical parade designed to aid unit recognition before a battle began.

The Trooping of the Colour has been a tradition of the Royal family since 1748, becoming an annual event since 1820 (barring exceptional circumstances). The Queen has attended Trooping the Colour in every year of her reign, except when prevented by a rail strike in 1955. Formerly mounted herself, typically on the back of Burmese, a black horse gifted to Her Majesty by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police when they came to perform at the 1969 Windsor Horse Show, she began riding in a carriage in 1987.

During the ceremony, The Queen is greeted by a Royal salute and carries out an inspection of the troops. After the massed bands have performed a musical ‘troop’, the escorted Regimental Colour is carried down the ranks. The Foot Guards and the Household Cavalry then march past Her Majesty, and The King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, rank past.The Queen rides in a carriage back to Buckingham Palace at the head of her Guards, before taking the salute at the Palace from a dais. The troops then return to barracks and Her Majesty then joins other members of the Royal Family on the palace balcony for a fly-past by the Royal Air Force.

If you happen to be in the vicinity of Horse Guards Parade over the coming weeks, you may be able to catch a view of the guards practising on the parade ground if you watch from within St. James’s Park, which should give you a glimpse into the workings of the Household Division and a closeup look at their ceremonial duties here in London.

 

©MOD 2013