Have you ever wondered where the Royal Family stores and maintains their coaches, carriages and state vehicles used for transport and a variety of public appearances? Located in Westminster, a brief walk from Buckingham Palace, is just that place, called the Royal Mews.
It is an operating part of the Royal Household. Additionally, the Royal Mews is a working stables where the care and training takes place of the beautiful horses used to pull the royal coaches and carriages. Within the Royal Mews are a variety of historic horse-drawn vehicles, and several motor cars as well.
Perhaps the most impressive of all on display is the Gold State Coach, used in every coronation since that of George IV which took place in 1821. It was also used in the 2002 Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen.
The present Royal Mews has a history dating back to the early 1800s. It was constructed between 1822 and 1825 in the Buckingham Palace gardens, during the reign of George IV. Prior to its present location, the Royal Mews was at Charing Cross. It was first referred to as the King’s Mews as it dated back to the time of Richard II.
Beginning in 1377 the royal hawks were kept there, which helps to explain the use of the word mew, another word for moulting, which the hawks did during confinement. Even though the building was destroyed by a fire in 1534 and stables were built instead, the name “mews” held on.
After acquiring Buckingham House in the early 1760s, George III moved some of his horses and carriages there, leaving the remainder at the King’s Mews. George IV later moved the stables to present day Buckingham Palace, hiring architect John Nash to design the building (Nash was already redesigning the palace for the King). Nash built the Mews around an existing riding school that was built during the 1760s.
The Royal Mews has a long and fascinating history. It is a popular stopping point for London visitors, and utilizes a user-friendly self-guided tour. It is not a place to be missed for anyone who has a deep interest in the Royal Family and/or in the history of Great Britain.