Royal coat of armsThe Royal Mews at Buckingham PalaceLondon Grid for Learning

The Queen is Head of State of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as well as Head of the Commonwealth of 54 countries, sixteen of which also acknowledge her as Head of State. Many of The Queen's duties are ceremonial and remind us of our history.

The Royal Mews is involved in supporting all the major state occasions such as coronations, jubilees, weddings, The Queen's Birthday Parade and the State Opening of Parliament. Without the daily activities of the staff at the Royal Mews, The Queen would not be able to perform her duties as Head of State.

In addition to these state occasions, the Royal Mews is involved in the running of many other Royal Household activities, such as the daily messenger service between Buckingham and St James's Palaces. This horse-drawn carriage delivers the mail and important messages between the Palaces.

The word 'Mews' refers to falcons. From Saxon to Stuart times, the sport of falconry was an essential part of being 'royal'. Falcons, like all birds, lose their feathers and this is called 'mewing'. When they were mewing (or moulting) they were kept in cages and therefore the cages were known as the 'Mews'. However, when a fire destroyed King Henry VIII's stables in 1537, he moved his horses into the Mews at Charing Cross. As falconry became less popular by the mid-seventeenth century, the word became associated with a place where horses were kept. Thus, from the eighteenth century onwards, "Mews" means "a group of stables".