The Household Cavalry Museum sits within Horse Guards in Whitehall, central London, one of the city’s most historic buildings. Dating from 1750, it is still the headquarters of the Household Division, in which the Household Cavalry has performed the Queen’s Life Guard in a daily ceremony that has remained broadly unchanged for over 350 years.
The Household Cavalry:
The Household Cavalry was formed in 1661 under the direct order of King Charles II and now consists of the two senior regiments of the British Army – The Life Guards and the Blues and Royals. We have two roles: as a mounted regiment (on horseback), we guard Her Majesty The Queen on ceremonial occasions in London and across the UK and are a key part of the Royal pageantry; as an operational regiment we serve around the world in armoured fighting vehicles. We currently have units deployed on active service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our fighting capacity is matched by our strategic role in international peace keeping and humanitarian operations.
Over the centuries we have amassed an outstanding collection of rare and unique treasures from ceremonial uniforms, royal standards and gallantry awards to musical instruments, horse furniture and silverware by Fabergé. Each exhibit has its own compelling story to tell and many are on display for the very first time. You can see two silver kettledrums given to the regiment in 1831 by William IV; the pistol ball that wounded Sir Robert Hill at Waterloo and the cork leg which belonged to the first Marquess of Anglesy, who, as the Earl of Uxbridge, lost his real one at Waterloo. Modern additions to the collection include Jacky Charlton’s football cap – he did his national service with the regiment and Sefton’s bridle – the horse that was injured in the 1982 Hyde Park bombings. Much of the collection has resulted from the close association that has existed between the Household Cavalry and Royalty. We have, after all, protected successive kings and queens from rebels, rioters and assassins for nearly 350 years.
Working Stable Block:
Visitors can gain a unique behind-the-scenes look at our working stable block. All the horses here are on duty and at different times of the day you will see something going on – you might see the horses being brought in, groomed, fed and watered, their hooves oiled and shoes checked, their saddles adjusted ready to go on guard or just see the stables themselves being cleaned. Both our horses and riders go through a rigorous and demanding training. In the Museum’s many interactive and multimedia presentations, you will hear first hand accounts of what this training is like and the techniques our soldiers use to master their horses and complete the gruelling preparations for regimental inspections.