May 9, 2023

And the Start of a New Reign


It has been nearly eight months since I've posted here. I will simply say that life has gone on and taken me into other directions that have taken too much of my time to allow for posting here. Blogs, which I enjoy reading from others, has not been my priority in the past few years versus when I first began here. I wish it was not so, but we do what we need, and often want, to do. 

That said, my last post was about the passing of the longest reigning monarch in Britain, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, so it is only fitting that the coronation of her son and successor, Charles, at age 74 (he will be 75 in November), is an important event to recognize and celebrate. 

I am a bit younger than Charles, so, like many of us "of a certain age",  I've known of him most of my life. I was never eager for him to become king, primarily because I appreciated his mother as queen, and particularly her lifelong passion for horses, riding and particularly her long involvement in horse racing. She made racing in the UK fun to watch, particularly the Royal Ascot race meeting held for nearly a week in mid-June. She was a keen owner and breeder of race horses and had long relationships with top horsemen and women in that industry in the UK and in the US in Kentucky.

I also appreciated the fact that Prince Philip, the late Duke of Edinburgh, was a passionate polo player who later took up carriage driving and competing in combined driving events for many years after stepping down from the saddle. He also served in an administrative capacity as the head of the Federation Equestre Internationale (International Equestrian Federation, or FEI), the governing body for all of international equestrian sport. He also was the brains behind the creation of popular international competitions, including the World Cup in show jumping, among other forward-thinking initiatives. 

Certainly, Charles is no stranger to the saddle, having foxhunted and played polo in his younger years, nor is his wife, Camilla, the Queen Consort, who loved riding to hounds and attending the races. (It is said that she is now overseeing the new king's and her ownership of the late queen's race horses and breeding stock, continuing that tradition that has been maintained by the royal family for more than a century.) Even more so, Charles's sister, Anne, and her daughter Zara Phillips, his niece, are the most accomplished equestrians in the family, having both ridden for the British equestrian team in the Olympics in the sport of eventing. Anne rode one of her mother's home-bred Thoroughbreds, Doublet, in the Montreal Games in 1976, while Zara is a former European champion and team silver medalist in the 2012 London Games, on the Irish Sport Horse, Toytown, where her grandmother presented the medals. Zara continues to compete and recently rode in the Land Rover Kentucky 5-Star Three-Day Event (top international level) at the Kentucky Horse Park on another Irish-bred horse, Class Affair,   finishing 15th of 24 to complete the event of 38 to participate.

Needless to say, my interest in watching the coverage of the coronation was mainly to see the pomp of the parades - the procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey and the recession back again - with the complement of horses both being ridden by cavalry members and drawing the gorgeous gilded carriages used to transport the king and queen consort. I also enjoy the lovely music and choral singing that were selected to celebrate the occasion. No one does these kinds of royal occasions as elegantly and beautifully like the British. Indeed, the Canadians have been long suppliers of some of the horses used by the British army for parades, etc., including horses the late queen rode in the ceremonial "Trooping of the Color". Even Charles and Anne both rode in the event last year when the Queen was no longer able to participate due to the stability issues that plagued her in her final year. 

While it's a given that Charles will not have as long of a reign as his mother, here's hoping that it is as long and healthy a one as possible and he discharges his duties and role with great success. 

God save the King! Long may he reign - and may the royal horses continue to remain in evidence in parades and ceremonies, and in competitions, on race courses and in hunting fields throughout the land!


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