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King Charles’s Coronation Horses: Eight Windsor Greys Will Pull the Gold State Coach




On Saturday, May 6, King Charles III will be crowned as the new sovereign of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms at Westminster Abbey. The coronation ceremony will be a solemn and historic occasion, but also a spectacular display of royal pageantry and tradition.


One of the most eye-catching aspects of the coronation will be the use of royal carriages and horses to transport the King and Queen Camilla to and from the Abbey. The royal couple will ride in two different coaches, each drawn by eight Windsor Greys, a breed of horses that has been associated with the monarchy since Queen Victoria’s reign.


The Diamond Jubilee State Coach


For the journey to Westminster Abbey, King Charles and Queen Camilla will ride in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, which was built in Australia in 2010 and delivered to the late Queen Elizabeth II in 2014. The coach is a modern masterpiece of craftsmanship and design, incorporating materials and symbols from British and world history.


The coach’s interior is upholstered in primrose yellow silk and inlaid with woods from royal residences, explorations and other countries and nations. The coach also features items donated by more than 100 historic organisations, such as a fragment of Sir Isaac Newton’s apple tree, a piece of Henry VIII’s flagship Mary Rose, a bolt from the Forth Bridge and a horseshoe from a horse that ran in the Grand National.


The coach’s exterior is decorated with elaborate carvings and paintings depicting scenes from British history and culture, such as the Magna Carta, Shakespeare, Churchill and the Beatles. The coach also has six hydraulic stabilisers to ensure a smooth ride for the royal passengers.


The Diamond Jubilee State Coach will be pulled by six Windsor Greys, accompanied by the Household Cavalry, the King’s most trusted bodyguards. The coachman will be Matthew Power, the King’s head coachman, who will ride on the near left-hand side horse and control the speed, direction and stopping of the horses and carriage.


The Gold State Coach


For the return journey to Buckingham Palace, King Charles and Queen Camilla will switch to the Gold State Coach, which has been used in every coronation since William IV in 1831. The coach is a magnificent piece of art and engineering, made in 1762 by Sir William Chambers and Samuel Butler.


The coach is gilded with gold leaf and adorned with cherubs, Tritons, palm trees and crowns. The coach’s panels are painted with allegorical scenes representing England, Scotland, Ireland and France. The coach’s interior is lined with velvet and satin embroidered with gold.


The Gold State Coach is four-tonne heavy and suspended on leather straps. It requires eight horses to pull it, as well as 12 footmen to attend it. The coach is notoriously uncomfortable to ride in, as it sways and jolts along the road. The late Queen Elizabeth II once described it as “one of the most unpleasant journeys I have ever had to make”.


The Gold State Coach will be pulled by eight Windsor Greys, which have been specially trained to deal with the crowds and noises on coronation day. Matthew Power said that staff at the Royal Mews have been greeting the horses with flags, drums, shouts and cheers on a daily basis to make sure they are ready. He also said that weights have been added to the carriages to get the horses used to pulling such a heavy load.


The Gold State Coach was last used in the Platinum Jubilee pageant in 2022 when it featured a hologram of the late Queen on her coronation day.


The Windsor Greys


The Windsor Greys are a breed of horses that have been bred by the royal family since Queen Victoria’s time. They are named after Windsor Castle, where they are stabled. They are grey in colour, with black manes and tails. They stand at about 16.1 hands high (about 5 feet 5 inches at the shoulder) and weigh about 850 kilograms (about 1,870 pounds).


The Windsor Greys are used for ceremonial occasions involving members of the royal family or visiting heads of state. They are trained to be calm and obedient in all situations. They are also well cared for by their grooms at the Royal Mews.


The same eight Windsor Greys will be used for both coaches on coronation day.

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