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Official Royal Posts: Master of the Horse

The honourary head of the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace is known as the Master of the Horse.

Dress uniform of the Master of the Horse.

Dress uniform of the Master of the Horse.

Today the Master of the Horse is mainly a ceremonial office and seldom is seen apart from on state occasions, and particularly when the Sovereign is mounted. Such events as the State Opening of Parliament and Trooping the Colour will see the Master of the Horse in attendance.

The Crown Equerry has the day-to-day administration of the Royal Mews, which affords transport for the Sovereign, either by cars or horse-drawn carriage.

This position has been held since the 14th century and is considered the third Great Officer of the Household after the Lord Chamberlain and the Lord Steward.

Going back centuries ago, the Master of the Horse was once responsible for provisions of horse for war and travel, of course, is no longer the case.

The office of Master of the Horse was at one time politically importance and influence to the monarch. The importance and influence began to decline in the early 18th century. In the 19th century, the three offices (Lord Chamberlain, Lord Steward and Master of the Horse) were considered political and switched during changes in the government.

A restructuring took place in 1924 after the Royal Household conducted a review. The three offices then became permanent non-political appointments.

The current Master of the Horse is the Lord Vestey. Samuel George Armstrong Vestey, 3rd Baron Vestey, became Master of the Horse in 1999. He was appointed Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) in the 2009 Birthday Honours.

Photo credit: Kelly Taylor via photopin cc

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