"Grey Escort" shortlisted for royal wedding parade

Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:08am EDT
 
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - They've been put through their paces, had their patience tested and made it through to the final eleven.

Nine of them will be selected to accompany Prince William and his new wife Kate Middleton as they return from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace Friday.

The grey horses of the London police force's Mounted Branch have led royal processions for many years including Princess Diana's wedding, the Duke of York's wedding, the funeral of the Queen Mother, and some state visits.

The horses have been selected for their calm temperament and ability not to be distracted by the thousands of well-wishers that will line the route.

The horses and officers used in the escort are there in a ceremonial capacity but will also assist in the event of an incident.

Although only nine escorts will be used on the day, eleven horses are being trained to ensure there is sufficient cover should one fall ill.

The "Grey Escort," as the parading horses are known, will be led by a mounted inspector who rides as "Pointer," followed by a mounted Sergeant and three Constables. A mounted Sergeant and three mounted Constables will also make up the rear of the escort.

The officers will wear a ceremonial uniform consisting of a silver lanyard and silver striped breeches.

(Reporting by Christina Fincher, editing by Paul Casciato)