THE ROYAL MEWS BUCKINGHAM PALACE - ?· PLAIN ENGLISH SCRIPT THE ROYAL MEWS BUCKINGHAM PALACE . 2 Welcome…

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    THE ROYAL MEWS TOUR

    PLAIN ENGLISH SCRIPT

    THE ROYAL MEWS BUCKINGHAM PALACE

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    Welcome (Winter Route):

    Welcome to the Royal Mews. Youre about to visit one of the finest working stables in

    existence, and a living part of Britains heritage.

    When you start the tour, youll probably see some of the horses. This tells you that that

    this is not a museum, but a working department of the Royal Household.

    To begin your tour, make your way through these stables towards the open door at the

    end; then cross the small road ahead of you. Watch out for traffic as you go.

    Carry on through the next set of stables and out of the open door into the courtyard. If

    you need more help during your visit, ask a warden in uniform along the route. They will

    be happy to help.

    Introduction (Winter Route):

    The tour starts in the Quadrangle, where you have a good view of the Royal Mews.

    All these buildings were originally built for George IV by British architect John Nash, in

    the 1820s. Even though there have been many modernisations, his basic design remains

    look at the imposing stone archways.

    At ground level you can see all the coach houses and stables. They contain the carriages

    and cars used for state ceremonies over the centuries. If you look up, you will see the

    balconies on the upper floor, many of them decorated with flowers. This is a private

    area - people not only work here but live here as well, because the horses need

    attention 24 hours a day.

    This quiet village, in the middle of Londons busy traffic, is home to the skilled and hard-

    working men and women responsible for looking after everything youre going to see

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    today. Some come from families with connections to the mews stretching back more

    than a hundred years.

    One of them is senior carriage restorer Martin Oates. He has been working in the Royal

    Mews now for 30 years. He is the fourth generation of his family to work here. His

    great-grandfather was head coachman, his grandfather was a coachman, and his father

    also was a coachman. His mother also worked here, for the Royal Collection. His two

    uncles worked here as well; one was a farrier (putting shoes on the horses) and the

    other worked with harness. Martin spent his younger life living in one of the flats in the

    Mews, and played football down here as a child.

    He grew up hearing stories about his familys role in The Queens Coronation on 2nd

    June 1953, when this Quadrangle was full of magnificent horse-drawn carriages. After

    months of preparation and rehearsal the Royal Mews was ready to play its part in one of

    the greatest ceremonial processions of modern times. You can imagine the scene. The

    coachmen and the attendants on foot looked splendid in their new uniforms. The royal

    horses were beautifully groomed with ribbons in their manes. The harness gleamed in

    the morning light.

    Now walk on to the right, and cross the small road again, watching out for traffic.

    The Mews:

    Why is this building called a Mews? Originally a Mews was a place where falcons were

    kept. From time to time these prized hunting birds were shut away while they shed

    their feathers. This loss of feathers was known as mewing, which is where the name

    Mews comes from.

    We now use the word Mews to refer to a place where horses and carriages are kept.

    This is because Henry VIII's stables burnt down and so he moved his horses into the

    Mews and moved the falcons out. The name has stuck since.

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    When youre ready, walk across to No.1 State Coach House. Youll see the sign over

    the door.

    Semi-State Landau (Winter Route):

    The first of the royal carriages on the tour is the Semi-State Landau. It is one of several

    similar coaches at the Royal Mews today. They are used regularly during the year for

    official duties and ceremonies. The design of this coach dates from the mid-19th century.

    It became popular then because its double hood could be unfolded, making it suitable

    for both town and country, in rain or sunshine. It is the 19th century equivalent of a

    convertible car.

    The driver of the coach sits on one of the horses rather than on a box on the carriage

    itself. When a driver sits on a horse he or she is called a postilion. When the driver sits

    on the carriage he or she is called a coachman.

    One of the roles of the Semi-State Landau is to take new foreign ambassadors from St

    James' Palace to Buckingham Palace for a formal meeting with The Queen. This happens

    soon after they arrive in London. During their 20 minute meeting with the Queen they

    give her the letters which prove they have permission to be an ambassador for their

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    country. They are called Letters of Credence, so the ceremony is known as presenting

    credentials.

    Queen Victoria enjoyed riding in the Semi-State Landau with the hood down, which

    allowed her to enjoy the fresh air. This is a picture of Queen Victoria in a State Landau

    during her Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

    When you are ready, please make your way to no. 2 State Coach House

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    Queen Alexandras Coach:

    This is Queen Alexandras State Coach. It dates from the 1860s and was first used by

    Edward VII and his wife, Queen Alexandra, when they were Prince and Princess of

    Wales. They used it as a town carriage to attend operas, state dinners and balls. Later

    on, it was converted from a closed town coach into the state coach you can see now.

    But like most of the coaches here, this is not just an exhibition piece it is still part of a

    living tradition.

    Every year the Imperial State Crown, the Sword of State and the Cap of Maintenance

    travel in this carriage to the State Opening of Parliament, escorted by the Household

    Cavalry. Here are some images from the 2014 State Opening of Parliament procession.

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    The State Crown rests on a crimson cushion, lit by lights so that it can be seen on its

    journey to Westminster. It is accompanied by three officials with grand titles: the

    Comptroller of the Lord Chamberlains Office, the secretary Central Chancery of

    Orders of Knighthood and the Gentleman Usher to the Sword of State. The Queen

    travels there in a different coach.

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    At the State Opening of Parliament, the coach travels at a steady pace, so the public

    who line the route to parliament get a good view of the Crown Jewels. When youre

    ready, move on to the next coach.

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    Welcome and Instructions (Summer Route):

    Welcome to the Royal Mews. Its one of the finest working stables in existence and a

    living part of Britains heritage. Today youll get the opportunity to see the carriages and

    cars associated with state ceremonies over the centuries.

    Introduction (Summer Route):

    The tour starts in the Quadrangle, where you have a good view of the Royal Mews.

    All these buildings were originally built for George IV by British architect John Nash, in

    the 1820s. Even though there have been many modernisations, his basic design remains

    look at the imposing stone archways.

    At ground level you can see all the coach houses and stables. They contain the carriages

    and cars used for state ceremonies over the centuries. If you look up, you will see the

    balconies on the upper floor, many of them decorated with flowers. This is a private

    area - people not only work here but live here as well, because the horses need

    attention 24 hours a day. This quiet village, in the middle of Londons busy traffic, is

    home to the skilled and hard-working men and women responsible for looking after

    everything youre going to see today. Some come from families with connections to the

    mews stretching back more than a hundred years.

    One of them is senior carriage restorer Martin Oates. He has been working in the Royal

    Mews now for 30 years. He is the fourth generation of his family to work here. His

    great-grandfather was head coachman, his grandfather was a coachman, and his father

    also was a coachman. His mother also worked here, for the Royal Collection. His two

    uncles worked here as well; one was a farrier (putting shoes on the horses) and the

    other worked with harness. Martin spent his younger life living in one of the flats in the

    Mews, and played football down here as a child.

    He grew up hearing stories about his familys role in The Queens Coronation on 2nd

    June 1953, when this Quadrangle was full of magnificent horse-drawn carriages. After

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    months of preparation and rehearsal the Royal Mews was ready to play its part in one of

    the greatest ceremonial processions of modern times. You can imagine the scene. The

    coachmen and the attendants on foot looked splendid in their new uniforms. The royal

    horses were beautifully groomed with ribbons in their manes. The harness gleamed in

    the morning light.

    When youre ready, walk over to the first coach house near the audio desk.

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    The Irish State Coach (Winter and Summer Routes now combined):

    This impressive carriage is known as the Irish State Coach because it was built in Dublin

    in 1851. When Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited the Great Industrial Exhibition

    in Dublin in 1853 they both admired this beautiful coach. It was delivered to them a

    month later!

    Like all the coaches at the Royal Mews, its decoration is eye-catching with lots of

    references to history. The edge around the roof of the carriage is a decorated gilded

    frieze, called a gallery. This is a picture of a section of it.

    It was added when Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India in 1876. If you look

    closely, youll notice that the design shows the rose of England, the thistle of Scotland,

    the shamrock of Ireland and a palm tree, to represent India.

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    The coach was completely restored for the coronation of King George V in 1911.

    Whilst these works were being done the wooden body of the carriage was destroyed

    by a fire in the workshop. It was rebuilt on its original chassis in just 19 weeks, and was

    able to take its place in the coronation procession.

    This carriage was also used in the summer of 1953 in the procession for the coronation

    of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Three million very happy well-wishers lined the way.

    It is believed that 27 million more watched the spectacle on television with friends and

    family. The carriages, horses, harness, coachmen and grooms of the Royal Mews were

    on show to the world.

    Most of the coaches you will see are linked with great state occasions just like this one.

    But there are some smaller and lighter carriages here which are used much more often.

    If you are lucky, you might see the carriage called a brougham, (pronunciation like

    broom) which carries the post twice a day from Buckingham Palace to St. Jamess Palace.

    It is named after the Scottish Lord Brougham and was first used in the 1830s. The

    brougham has a window at the front so that passengers can see where the carriage is

    going.

    Remember, if you want any more information, you can ask a warden.

    When youre ready to move on, please make your way into the next coach house.

    Please be careful as you enter the coach house it is darker there than in the others so

    please allow a moment for your eyes to get used to it.

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    The Diamond Jubilee State Coach:

    Only two coaches have been built for the Royal Household in the last 100 years. Both

    were designed by the same man, an Australian, William Frecklington. This one is The

    Diamond Jubilee State Coach. It is the latest arrival in the Royal Mews it came here in

    2014. It took the designer, and his international team of hand-picked specialists, eight

    years to build. Its elegant classic design fits in perfectly with all the other wonderful

    coaches here at the Mews but it has some important differences. In the Diamond

    Jubilee Coach we can see the old skills and techniques that have been used to build it,

    but also how modern methods and technology have been applied.

    For example the steel springs that support the coach have been made in the old-

    fashioned way, designed by eye and built by hand. But inside the suspension there are

    also six hydraulic stabilisers controlled by electricity. The coachs axles were made by a

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    traditional blacksmith using a forge and a hammer, but the wheels were put together by

    a designer of high-performance racing cars. Even the four large elegant lamps are built so

    that they can hold either candles or the most modern lighting.

    Other modern fixtures include air conditioning, heating and electric windows-all

    powered from a battery underneath the footman's box at the back. The builders wanted

    their coach to be a kind of time capsule, so a number of items from history were

    taken and carefully fitted into different parts of the coach. These include wood from the

    huts used by Captain Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton in the Antarctic, and a musket-ball

    from the Battle of Waterloo.

    A carving of the Imperial State Crown sits on top of the coach. It is a symbol of the

    supreme power of the king or queen. The crown is carved from oak taken from Admiral

    Lord Nelsons ship, HMS Victory. It is the work of British artist O.H. Boyd, and it shows

    how much skill was used to make the coach.

    It can contain a camera to record the crowds on the procession route-the footage of

    which is being shown on the back wall.

    When youre ready, please make your way to the next coach house. As you leave this

    space, the light outside will be a lot brighter so please be careful and allow time for your

    eyes to get used to it.

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    The Glass Coach:

    This carriage is known as the Glass Coach. It was built in 1881 and was first used by the

    Lord Mayors of London.

    It was bought for George Vs Coronation in 1911. Its one of the most comfortable of

    the older coaches it has excellent suspension and was fitted with inside lighting in

    1963.

    But for many people the most important feature of this coach is that it is traditionally

    used by royal brides to travel to their weddings. Here is a picture from 1923, when Lady

    Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, The Queens mother, married the future George VI:

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    The coach was used again in 1947 for the marriage of Her Royal Highness Princess

    Elizabeth, to Lieutenant Phillip Mountbatten. In 1973 it was used for the wedding of

    Princess Anne; in 1986 by Miss Sarah Ferguson; and in 1981 Lady Diana Spencer

    travelled in it to marry the Prince of Wales. The Glass Coach has a special place in

    British history.

    But in 2011 the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge decided not to use the Glass Coach

    for their wedding. Instead they used the 1902 Landau, as you can see in this picture:

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    This was because it is a wide carriage and can hold a bride's huge dress more

    comfortably. It also has India rubber tyres which make it a more comfortable ride.

    Please make your way to the next coach house.

    The Scottish State Coach:

    This coach is known as the Scottish State Coach. It was built in 1830 for the Duke of

    Cambridge (the younger brother of King George IV, who had just died) to ride in to the

    coronation of his brother William IV....

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