8 days to go

Captain James Hulme writes this Maundy Thursday with the latest news of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment’s preparations for the Royal Wedding, which draws ever-nearer… 

Looking forward to the Royal Wedding

Looking forward to the Royal Wedding

It’s Thursday and the Easter weekend is almost upon us. Or at least it is for the rest of the world – not so for The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. What better time to train than in the week leading up to the Royal Wedding. At the moment, every hour counts.

This morning, I set my alarm for 0330hrs. Yes, that’s right, early! So what has been going on for us to incur such an inhospitable start? Well don’t worry, we’re not in trouble, it’s just that preparations are stepping up a pace. And if you thought that that was impossible, it is not. We are definitely in the business of ‘making time’. Soldiers’ eyes look perpetually glazed, and polishing fingers are almost worn down to the bone, but we are constantly reminded that our colleagues on the other side of the Regiment are in Helmand.

Thankfully, Tuesday saw an end to the parades in Hyde Park specifically for the Major General’s Review. That final parade is perhaps the most stringent test we undergo in the calendar. Essentially it is the test to ensure we can go forward to do the real events. The final phase of ‘Major General’s’ incorporated a charge, in review order, towards the Major General himself. It was quite a sight to behold. Thankfully the press were there to record it for posterity. Indeed, last week we were inundated by media types: ABC, ARD, BBC, CBS, CNN, NBC, TF1, RTL etc. All the big names were baying for us to perform behind the camera, for a world audience.

Don’t worry, we remain humble in light of this world interest, because when all is said and done, it might be one of our 18-year old troopers behind the camera, opening up about his arduous lifestyle, and all the hours required to produce excellence in what we do. Thankfully all our soldiers stepped up to the mark when confronted, and were particularly confident. One member of 1 Troop Blues & Royals, Trooper Denton John, is currently breaking hearts across America with his existentialist views of what it means to be a Yank on the Wedding within the Household Cavalry. A future star of military diplomacy, maybe?

So, on to today and that hellishly early start. It was actually our first rehearsal specifically for the Royal Wedding escorts, so perhaps the wake-up was justifiable. At an ungodly hour, we rehearsed with the Royal Mews and their carriages the entire format for the big day. Now some things I will not discuss quite yet. But let me assure you, it felt pretty good being a part of it. In my opinion, the spectacle is what it is because of quantity, and we get it just right. There are enough of us to really add a sense of Majesty.

So Knightsbridge at 0600hrs erupted into life with a display, put on for our own purposes, but hopefully enjoyed by tourists and commuters lucky enough to be waiting for buses at the right time. Who knows how we did, we are yet to be briefed about our performance. Thankfully not a single rider ‘dismounted’, and not a single Life Guard doffed his helmet… to the ground. The poor old Life Guards, they are smart, but rather impractically choose to have their helmets’ chinstraps fastened under their bottom lip. The Blues & Royals position chinstraps… well, under the chin.

The rehearsal ended with members of HQ Squadron’s ‘rent-a-crowd’ vigorously waving flags and bunting, banging drums, shouting and, generally sniggering if any of our horses reacted badly to the distractions. This is known as ‘Sticky Ride’. I am happy to report that our trusty cavalry blacks are getting use to the crowds. I have been reliably informed that riding on a Royal Wedding is something akin to riding through the middle of a rock concert; anyone sane shouldn’t really do it.

And which horse was I riding on, I hear you cry? Well, yet another one I’m afraid. George was my trusty charger today. Young, flighty, but very noble-looking. In fact George didn’t once let me down. Don’t worry, I still go and visit William daily, and still hope that he is fit for the big day.

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9 thoughts on “8 days to go

  1. I thoroughly enjoy your writing. Thank you for the interesting and witty updates. Good luck with the preperations and the big day.

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  2. Its a long time ago and many happy and some not so. memories I hold of serving in our armed forces.
    I am proud to have served and even more happy to wish our troops well.
    God bless them and keep them safe.

    As humans we are still learning peace.
    Mick

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  3. HCMR-Men & horses, Looking dapper as ever.
    So elegant & so sophisticated. How wonderful you all are.
    Hope you’re all getting enough rest, as I know this
    training, practicing and preparation for the Royal Wedding can be very daunting, to say the least.
    Look forward to your presense on the day. I dont need to remind you to ensure you are fully hydrated.
    If Nerves are getting the better of you on the day ask your Guadian Angels to hold you and just say to yourself “I am superior & I am proud for I’m the king of the castle and you are the dirty rascals” or you could just think “boy, you people are ‘Ugly”
    I will be on First Aid duty with St John Ambulance.
    Now stop reading messages and get some rest.
    Sending you all Love, light and protection. xxxxxxxxx-a kiss for each of you and a pat each for your horses.

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  4. “William, ur a smart arsed horse, who knows 2play it cool” Good 4u pretending ur ‘unfit’ to work so u can b fit on the day” X

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  5. Hi

    Blues and Royals are my favorites, mainly because I was working as a staff nurse in Accident & Emergency at Westminster Hospital when the guys (and horses) were blown up by the IRA. Hope all goes well for you on 29th I’m sure it will

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  6. I Cant wait till Friday. its not the wedding i want to see. Its the procession and the British Army on Parade. The Procession to and from the Abbey. I will take a tea break during the Wedding Cerermony. The Queen is coming to Cork.And 99% of us here welcome her to our Country and our City. but for me without the bands and horses and the pagentry, its a non event. I am more looking forward to June for the trouping the Colour. The best event of the year. Pat

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  7. p.s the very best of luck on friday, On Friday Night i hope each and every Soldier. will be proud of a job well done, in fact very well done. the 3.30 starts will have been well worth it. pat

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  8. its here the best of luck to H M forces. as we all await the Wedding and the British Army, the R A F and the Senior Service, as we sit back and enjoy. a day to remember. Pat

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