A Royal Carriage Ride at the Fraeylemaborg

Just over two weeks ago, on 6 September, I attended the “Fraeylemaborg Koetsentocht 2014”. This tour with horse-drawn carriages takes place every year and takes the whole day. It ends at the beautiful Fraeylemaborg, a former noble estate in Slochteren, in the North of the Netherlands. I’d rather would have liked to sit in a carriage in an historical costume, but of course I was only allowed to take pictures of the carriages and the beautiful setting. The weather was quite good, but not very sunny unfortunately.

This year’s edition of the carriage ride had an extra royal touch on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Kingdom of The Netherlands. Not only did the “Stichting Oud Oranje” present historical costumes, even a royal carriage participated this year with permission of King Willem-Alexander. Special guests as far as I understood were two jonkvrouwen Van Panhuys, whose ancestors once lived at the Fraeylemaborg. They must have been daughters of Jonkheer François Willem Peter Marie van Panhuys (1914-1969) and Louise Thomassen à Thuessink van der Hoop van Slochteren (1915-2008). They had three daughters Kitty, Mieke and Ulrica, and I am certain I heard one of the two ladies being called Mieke.

I had already seen an even bigger costume show of the “Stichting Oud Oranje” a few years ago. But this time only the Dutch monarchs were presented, except for Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima. It did start with Emperor Napoleon of France who conquered The Netherlands in the late 18th century, and his first wife Joséphine de Beauharnais. Following were the first Dutch King Louis Napoleon (1806-1810) and his wife Hortense de Beauharnais. And then of course also the Kings Willem I, Willem II, Willem III with their Queens – including the second wife of Willem I – and the Queens Wilhelmina and Juliana with husbands. Of course the models are not look-a-likes, but the costumes and the whole presentation are already worth watching.

King Willem-Alexander had given his permission for the presentation of the “Koninklijk Staldepartement” (Royal Stables). A Gala Landau drawn by four-in-hand – four Friesian horses – was driven ‘à la d’Aumont” with Gala harness, and staff in demi-Gala dress. The carriage was built in 1872 by M.L. Hermans & Co in The Hague. It was a royal sighting when the carriage drove around with the Fraeylemaborg in the background. When the event had ended the horses were driven back home to The Hague in a special motor-truck with royal number plate, which I had never seen before. The carriage was placed in another motor-truck for transport.

Lots of pictures by the official photographer of the Stichting Oud Oranje.

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