We planned our day in London around a visit to Buckingham Palace. This was a 'must see' on our trip and I was looking forward to seeing the Queen's home in all its' splendor. Our tickets were purchased online ahead of time, which is a very easy thing to do and likely saved us time when we arrived as we didn't have to stand in line. Part of the ticket entrance included visiting the Royal Mews, where the carriages and horses are kept and we chose to visit here first.
There are several carriages displayed in individual rooms with some of their history and stories told on a story board as well as more information given on our hand held guide that gave us lots of information. They were all very grand and pretty exciting to see in their amazing condition, some of which had had extensive rebuilding done to be as they originally appeared. We also walked through the stables and saw some of the horses but the one coach we saw that was absolutely amazing was the Gold State Coach.
King George III had this coach designed by architect Sir William Chambers in 1760 for his coronation and wedding to Princess Charlotte. It wasn't ready in time for either celebration so it made its' debut in 1762 being pulled by eight cream stallions, when King George attended the State Opening of Parliament. The coach weighs 4 ton and needed those eight horses to pull that weight. The coach is 24 ft. long, 8 ft. wide and 12 ft. high. The cost in English currency was 8,000 pounds when it was built.
The mythical sea-gods with the body of man and legs and feet of a dolphin on the back of the coach are representing England's imperial powers, together with the ones on the front. They represent Britain's strong maritime traditions and show England's dominant seapower. These carvings reflect the powerful position that England held in the world.
The three cherubs at the top of the coach represent the union of England, Scotland and Ireland. They carry the symbols to represent Knighthood, a sword, sceptre and a badge as well as the Imperial Crown. Their gifts symbolize abundance and prosperity to the gods.
This coach was absolutely amazing to see and learn about. The history lesson of this day was one not to be forgotten.