your royal tour of germany
The historic stables of the Princely School of Riding Art at Bückeburg Castle have a special connection to the British crown. Discover the royal castle and its extravagant equestrian history, which still features today on Lower Saxony's coat of arms.
Bückeburg Castle – held for over 700 years by the Counts of Holstein-Schaumburg, subsequently renamed the Dukes of Schaumburg-Lippe – is a Renaissance castle with historic chambers and rooms spanning four centuries. Count Wilhelm Ernst zu Schaumburg-Lippe (1724-1777) was the connection with the British royal family. As grandson to the future King George I, the Count was a close associate of George II during the Seven Years' War and was thanked by the king for his allegiance with a gift of thoroughbred horses. This laid the cornerstone for the equestrian academy and Bückeburg Castle has been a centre of the equestrian arts since that time.
The splendidly appointed halls and magnificent chapel also afford a glimpse of life at the ducal residence. At the edge of the extensive castle grounds lies the largest private mausoleum, with the largest gold mosaic dome in Europe.
In 2011 in the presence of HM Queen Elizabeth II, the Princely School of Riding Art in Bückeburg revealed a further historical link between Britain and Hanover on the occasion of the "May Ball" held on the 500th anniversary of St. John's College in Cambridge: the visit of the superb Herrenhausen horses known as the "Royal Creams". This created a minor sensation, because the first and only time that animals had been paraded on campus was a group of elephants from around the Commonwealth back in 1918.
These rare, luxurious and extravagant horses, as snowy white as foals, are so precious that only the aristocracy was able to afford them at the time. The prestige of the "Royal Hanoverian Creams" embodied the splendour and luxury of the British Kings and the Electors of Hanover; these horses could be seen drawing the British carriage of state almost continuously until 1921. While touring the historic stables, admire the fine breeds bred there over the course of centuries and which still figure on Lower Saxony's coat of arms today. Prepare to be impressed by the Baroque equestrian arts and mounted swordsmanship at one of over 250 events held each year.
Home-cooked game specialities to thrill the taste buds await at the new "Alten Schlossküche", along with chocolate from the extensive museum shop. In the surrounding area, the island fortress of Wilhelmstein in Lake Steinhude draws visitors from far and wide. In addition to Baroque fortress architecture, a jaunt on the largest lake of northern Germany is naturally of interest.
Curious? Take a look here.