Queen’s granddaughter makes Royal Windsor driving debut

  • The Queen’s youngest granddaughter has followed in her grandfather’s footsteps to make her Royal Windsor carriage driving debut.

    Lady Louise Mountbatten Windsor, 13, led the Champagne Laurent-Perrier meet of the British Driving Society on Sunday (14 May).

    She was driving the homebred Fell pony Balmoral Phantom, the grandson of the Queen’s trusted mount Carltonlima Emma.

    The carriage was one driven by The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, in 1943 at the first Royal Windsor Horse Show to raise money to build a Hurricane during World War II.

    It is the Queen’s French Pony Chase, built in 1875 and was given to the Prince of Wales who later became King Edward VII.

    Lady Louise, the daughter of the Earl and Countess of Wessex, has been driving for two years. She inherited her grandparents’ love of horses and had riding lessons at Windsor from an early age.

    The Crown Equerry Colonel Toby Brown, head of the Royal Mews, was also driving two of the Queen’s homebred Windsor greys in the procession.

    The pair, called Knightsbridge and Londonderry, are both out of Her Majesty’s mare Silver Lady.

    They were bred at the Royal Stud at Hampton Court before being trained at Windsor Castle and are now based at Buckingham Palace, where they are used for state and semi-state ceremonial duties.

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    A spokesman for the British Driving Society (BDS) explained the history of the event, which was first held in 1958 when it was supported by 56 combinations.

    “After assembling in a side ring, yellow carnation buttonholes were presented to members and passengers and worn with great pride,” he said.

    “This tradition continued for any years and established the flower as the BDS emblem.

    “After a five-mile drive, members returned to the main arena to receive magnificent rosettes.”

    The BDS was formed in 1957 and celebrates its diamond anniversary this year.

    “In 1965 a staggering 91 entries had been received for the meet and drive at Royal Windsor Horse Show, but sadly it had to be cancelled due to a severe coughing epidemic,” added the spokesman.

    “However the official meet of the BDS at Windsor resumed in 1966 and has remained for the last 51 years.”

    First place went to John Henry White with Trixies Charlie.

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