This month we’ve been to London. We had a few work commitments, but still managed to get a little bit of time off to see The Household Cavalry Museum, Kew Gardens and Kensington Palace. Posts about Kew and the palace will follow these days.
When we arrived at The Household Cavalry Museum, the guard was changing and we managed to get a great spot, near the horses and we saw the change. It was lovely to see the horses. The guard is changed every hour and that is understandable with the amount of tourists taking pictures and petting the animals. I wanted to interact with the horses, but decided against it in the end, it was too crowded and I didn’t want to do anything that might stress them. It was nice to hear so many different languages outside, Italian, Spanish, German, English. My husband took lots of pictures from the changing of the guard, it was lovely to be so close and I want to share a few of them. There are a few pictures from the museum too.
The Household Cavalry Museum is within Horse Guards in Whitehall, central London. It dates back to 1750 and the building it is still the headquarters of the Household Division. Here, the Household Cavalry has performed the Queen’s Life Guard in a daily ceremony that has remained broadly unchanged for over 350 years.
The Household Cavalry was formed in 1661 under the order of King Charles II. At the moment, there are two regiments of the British Army – The Life Guards and the Blues and Royals. The role is to guard Her Majesty The Queen on ceremonial occasions in London and across the UK. I though it’s only for ceremonial occasions, but, in fact they are an operational regiment as well. At this time, troops from these regiments are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not only for fighting, but they have a role in international peace keeping and humanitarian operations too.
Changing of the guard is a lovely ceremony. Two horses and their riders are leaving the stables. They are presented and then they are taking their places at the entrance through the back door. After that, the guards that finished their serving as a sentry, go back into the courtyard, dismount and guide the horses back in the stables on foot. Inside the museum there is a window into the stables and the horses can be seen while they are resting between guarding duties. It wasn’t possible to get a good picture. My husband thinks it’s because the window looked like it had a coating or film on it, to makes the windows one-way and let the horses relax without having to see all the tourists gathered around to look at them.
The museum is small, but it has a few interesting things on display, like a saddle from the Waterloo battle. Old swords, from the 17th century, pistols and ceremony outfits.
85% of the soldiers from the Household cavalry have direct training with horses. The rest are trained as specialists on armoured vehicles. For the ceremonial duty, the soldiers must complete 20 weeks of intensive training. For the final inspection, the trainees must get the highest level of excellence in all aspects. They can also get more training at an annual Summer Camp.
Have you been to The Household Cavalry Museum?