- Tower Hamlets
He’s 18 years old, 5 feet 4 inches tall, has a mop of long grey hair and a very long nose, will be escorting the Royal Carriage Process, and he lives in the Bow Road.
Meet Boris- no relation to the recently re-elected London Mayor, though their hairstyles are similar.
Boris is a Metropolitan Police Mounted Branch “Grey” who has just heard he will be joining his colleagues Annabel, Trident, Dragoon, Fulham, Cambridge, Jackson, Justice, Belsize, Isaac and Benjamin to escort the Royal Carriage Procession next Tuesday.
Boris currently resides at Bow Road Stables, which means he is one of two equine representatives for the borough of Tower Hamlets on the day. We have no idea how he voted in the recent elections. Police horses, like officers, keep their politics to themselves.
In horse terms 5 feet 4 inches is described as 16.2 hands high and he has been in the Met for 14 years. Boris has participated in various major ceremonial and public order events.
On June 5, the Metropolitan Police Service Mounted Branch will escort the Royal Carriage Procession for Her Majesty the Queen on return from the Palace of Westminster to Buckingham Palace.
Boris will be joined by his old friend and colleague Annabel, also stationed at Bow Road stables.
Annabel is four years older at 22, currently the longest serving Grey with continuous service, having been in the Met since 1997. She’s a little shorter at 16 hands high exactly, but what she does not gain in height, she certainly does in experience, security, and hospitality to VIPs from abroad.
Annabel has served in the state visits of Mexican and Canadian officials, the State Opening of Parliament and has been on duty for Trooping the Colour. For the Jubilee Procession Annabel will be ridden by PC Haywood-Percival, who has served in some form of capacity for both the Silver and Golden Jubilees.
Both horses have been selected, a major honour in any police horse career, because they have “demonstrated a good and calm temperament.”
Boris and Annabel are part of an elite team- it might be said they are the equivalent of police horse “special forces.”
Because in addition to being there in a ceremonial capacity, they have the training and experience to assist in the event of any incident. Other mounted officers on duty will form part of the security operation for the day; they will be on or close to the ceremonial route.
Boris and Annabel, along with the other “Greys” has been under intense training, described by police sources as “significant” and their outstanding performance resulted in their selection. 11 have made the grade, and they include back-ups in case of something untoward happening to any of the nine forming the escort.
Boris and Annabel are two of three veterans who include Trident, now 24, and brought out of retirement. The others are younger and have impressive service profiles: Dragoon, 17, Fulham, 15, very good at keeping order at FA Cup Finals, Cambridge, 12, Jackson, 10, Justice, 11, who was on duty for the Heineken Cup Final 2012 at Twickenham, Belsize, 18, Isaac, 11, and Benjamin, 17, who led the England World Cup Rugby Team Parade on their heroic return.
Chief Inspector Bob Barker talked about how the Metropolitan Police Service’s Mounted Branch prepared for the Royal Wedding at the end of April last year, an event that both Boris and Annabel took part in as the Mounted Branch “Grey” Escort.
The Escort for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee on the day will be led by a senior officer who rides as the “Pointer”. This role involves the senior officer leading the procession, made up of the Cavalry, the Queen and other members of the Royal Family.
Behind the Pointer there will be four mounted officers, all of which make up the front of the Grey Escort.
A mounted Sergeant and three mounted Constables will also make up the rear of the escort, with each group of four mounted officers and their horses referred to as a “Section”. In total there will be nine grey horses and officers forming the escort.