Equestrian stars get the royal wedding call up

  • Will you be watching the royal wedding today? If so, keep an eye out for some famous equestrian faces among the 1,900-strong congregation.

    The guest list isn’t just dominated by celebrities, politicians and dignitaries — stars from across the disciplines are expected to descend on London to attend the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey. But, ever discreet, most are keeping tightlipped about their attendance.

    The polo-playing prince is understood to have invited several of his friends from the sport.

    These include Nina Vestey and her brother Ben, England captain Luke Tomlinson and his brother Mark, who is expected to attend with his girlfriend, dressage ace Laura Bechtolsheimer.

    Eventing too looks set to be well represented. In addition to the groom’s cousin, former world champion Zara Phillips, eventing legend Richard Meade and his son Harry are on the guest list along with former young rider European squad member — and sister of William — Alicia Fox-Pitt, a close friend of the bride’s from her school days at Marlborough.

    While it’s hard to track down a showjumper who has made it on to the guest list, racing fares much better.

    Gold Cup-winning jockey Sam Waley-Cohen, a close friend of the couple, has been invited as has his father Robert, who is next month to take over from Lord Vestey as chairman of Cheltenham racecourse.

    Jake Warren, son of The Queen’s racing manager, John, is also expected to attend.

    Meanwhile, the day’s four-legged stars have been put through their paces in final rehearsals before the big event.

    After the ceremony, a 15-minute procession through central London from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace will involve 18 horses from the Household Cavalry conveying the royal party in five carriages. A total of 150 horses will be involved in the event — including two named after the happy couple.

    This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (28 April, 2011)

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