Following the announcement by the Ministry of Defence on 1st April 2011, The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment has been confirmed to provide the Sovereign's Escort and Captain's Escort for the wedding of HRH Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton on 29th April 2011.
The Life Guards and Blues & Royals of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment will form a Sovereign’s Escort for Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, and a Captain’s Escort for the Bride and Groom, as the wedding party travel to Buckingham Palace from Westminster Abbey. This will involve almost 200 horses and soldiers on the day to escort and protect their carriages.
Lt Col. Dan Hughes said: “We are honoured to have such a pivotal role in the Royal Wedding, especially considering we have former colleagues of Prince William serving with us today. Prince William’s former Squadron, D Squadron HCR will be wishing the Royal couple good luck from Helmand Province, Afghanistan where they are currently deployed. Among the soldiers riding on the parade, many are recent veterans of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the younger members will be due to serve on Operations in 2013.”
The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment based in Knightsbridge, is already conducting intensive rehearsals to prepare for the big day, and can be seen in Hyde Park every morning, practising their complex manoeuvres, riding on their ‘Cavalry Blacks’. Preparations have already been arduous for the Royal Wedding, and will continue to be for the next 24 days.
“At the moment we practise our drills pretty much every day, points that will be pertinent to this important event. Control of your horse, riding straight and dressed-off with your neighbour, precise and yet elegant sword drill, ‘carrying’ your plume, projecting your words of command...there is so much that goes into such a spectacle,” said Capt. James Hulme.
There is a lot of work that goes into equipment preparation at The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. A pair of the infamous jackboots can take up to eight hours of polishing for such an important parade. Helmets and the metal breastplate ‘cuirasses’, swords, plumes and horse tack all require a considerable amount of care and attention from the soldiers. The horses also get doted on, getting clipped, shaved, pedicured and given the occasional treat of apples, sugar cubes or mints. All this effort is even more incredible considering that 95% of the soldiers had never ridden before serving with the State Ceremonial half of the Regiment.