Prince Harry and Meghan Markle selected an Ascot Landau carriage for their procession through Windsor Town after their wedding on May 19, 2018. The carriage was first unveiled to the public during a rehearsal for the wedding two days before.
Harry, the 6th in line to the British throne, is marrying Markle, an American actress, setting off a royal wedding spectacle that will include the procession through the streets to give the public a glimpse of the royal couple. Here’s what you need to know about Harry and Meghan’s carriage:
1. The Carriage Will Take the Couple through Windsor Town
According to The Royal Family, Harry and Meghan’s carriage will be led by horses. The Ascot Landau will give people a good look at the royal couple. The Crown Equerry, Col. Toby Browne describes the Ascot Landau as a “wonderfully bright, small, lovely carriage, very easy for people to see – the passengers can sit up quite high. So there’s lots of visibility for everybody.”
“There will be one horse-drawn carriage in the Carriage Procession from St George’s Chapel, which will take the newly married couple through Windsor Town returning to Windsor Castle along the Long Walk,” the family states.
In addition to the carriage bearing Meghan and Harry, there will also be some state cars used during the royal wedding. “State Cars from the Royal Mews will also be used in the wedding, to transport Members of The Royal Family, the Bride and Bridal party,” the Royal Family says. “The State Car collection includes two Bentleys, three Rolls-Royces and three Daimlers.”
2. A Mounted Regiment Accompanies the Carriage
There will be a military pomp feel to the procession. “The carriage will be escorted by a travelling Escort of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment,” the Royal Family says.
“Prince Harry and Ms Markle are very much looking forward to this short journey which they hope will be a memorable moment for everyone who has gathered together in Windsor to enjoy the atmosphere of this special day,” added the family on its website.
The Royal Family has 100 carriages at its disposal. “There are over 100 carriages in the Royal Mews collection, although not all of them are kept at Buckingham Palace,” says the family. “All carriages and coaches are maintained by craftsmen in the Royal Mews. All the harnesses require regular cleaning and polishing, an activity undertaken by Royal Mews staff in addition to their other duties.”
3. The Royal Family Has Five Ascot Landau Carriages
The carriage is one of five Ascot Landaus in what is called “the Royal Mews.” What is the Royal Mews? According to the family, “The Royal Mews is part of the Lord Chamberlain’s Office and is run by the Crown Equerry. The Royal Mews houses 30 carriage horses and has 43 staff including liveried helpers, coachmen and chauffeurs.”
The Ascot Landaus are used for official functions.
“Ascot Landaus are used for The Queen’s procession during the Royal Meeting at Ascot and also for other visits of an official nature,” according to the Royal Family. “Two of the Ascot Landaus featured in the Carriage Procession for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding in 2011, carrying Prince Harry as the Best Man, Maid of Honour and Bridesmaids and Page Boys from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace.”
4. Windsor Grey Horses Will Pull the Carriage
What breed of horse pulls the carriage? “The carriage will be pulled by Windsor Grey Horses. Windsor Grey horses play an important role in the ceremonial life of the Royal Family and the nation, and have been drawing the carriages of successive Monarchs and Members of the Royal Family since Queen Victoria’s reign,” the Royal Family says.
“This carriage and horses are housed at the Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace,” according to the family.
The Royal Family uses two types of horses of which Windsor Grey are one. “There are two breeds of horses at the Royal Mews: Windsor Greys and Bays (the majority of which are Cleveland Bays),” the family explains.
5. There’s a Back-up Carriage for the Rain
There is a back-up plan for a different carriage were it to rain. “In the event of severely wet weather, the couple will travel in the Scottish State Coach. In 1969 a completely new top was made and was given large glass windows and two transparent panels in the roof. The Coach is emblazoned with the royal arms for Scotland and the insignia of the Order of the Thistle, unlike all the other carriages, which bear the royal arms for England and the insignia of the Order of the Garter. It has gold upholstery,” the Royal Family states.