The Queen inspected the mounted and dismounted squadrons of the Light Cavalry of the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) in Windsor Great Park last week, and presented them with a Royal Warrant, which gives royal recognition to the existence of the Light Cavalry as a ceremonial unit.
Following the inspection and presentation, several of the units horses were presented to the Queen, including several horses who were stationed at the Royal Mews, as well as Sam, a successful eventer, who is a past winner of Windsor Horse Trials.
The HAC, of which the Light Cavalry is a sub-unit, is the worlds oldest fighting regiment. Now based in Windsor Great Park, the HAC was granted a Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1537, which recognised the artillery company as an official military body under the command of the King.
Their role today is far removed from those early days, when the unit was charged with protecting the honest citizens of London from thieves and cutpurses.
Nowadays, the HAC provides the majority of long range surveillance patrols for the British army identifying targets, reporting on enemy troop movements and making battle damage assessments far in front of British troops operating up to 100 kilometres behind enemy lines.
The Light Cavalry had a similar reconnaissance role in the 19th century, in action from 1860 to 1891 when they were converted into a battery of horse artillery. In 1979 the Light Cavalry were re-formed, and to mark their 25 years of re-establishment, the Queen presented the unit with a Royal Warrant at a ceremony last week.
The Light Cavalry preserves the mounted military traditions of the city, teaching mounted military drill and skill at arms. Their official role is providing a mounted escort to the Lady Mayoress of the City of London, and they also put on displays of mounted and dismounted drill.