Princess Anne marks moment Britain heard of Waterloo victory
Princess Anne on Sunday helped to recreate the moment, 200 years ago, that official news of Britain's victory against Napoleon at Waterloo reached the royal family.
Replicas of the dispatch and golden imperial eagles wrested from the defeated French army have made the three-day journey from the battlefield in modern-day Belgium, arriving in London on Sunday.
Actors playing Major Henry Percy and Commander James White, who presented the original victory message to the Prince Regent on June 21, 1815, carried the replicas on their final leg across London on a horse-drawn carriage.
Dressed in full military regalia and carrying banners from Napoleon's defeated troops, the messengers finally delivered the news and replica eagles to a waiting Princess Anne, playing the role of the Prince Regent, at the Waterloo Room in the East India Club, central London.
"It has been an astonishing privilege for us to be able to do this," said Julian Farrance, who played Percy.
"To be able to ride the post chaise (carriage) through the middle of town, but also to have started out at Waterloo and followed this journey through and come splashing ashore - the whole experience has been simply astonishing."
Until Percy's arrival, the Prince Regent was unaware of the result with rumours swirling that Britain's troops, led by the Duke of Wellington, had lost.
"The country was in a fever of anticipation, waiting for the news, and finally Commander White and Major Percy managed to get it through to them," Farrance said.
Battle-scarred and exhausted, Percy arrived back in London three days after the June 21 battle, despite having to row half-way across the Channel due to a lack of wind.
© 2015 AFP