24.08.21 The Master Sarah Jane Adams-Diffey

HM The Queen presents sashes to winners at the British Driving Society’s annual show

Pictured above: Winners of the BDS Concours d’Elegance class

I was delighted and honoured to be asked by the British Driving Society (BDS) to judge the prestigious Concours d’Elegance competition in the afternoon of the annual BDS show, writes The Master Sarah Jane Adams-Diffey.

The Chairman of the Judges, Barrie Luck, afforded me his wise counsel and said, “it’s simple. You must pick the one that would be the painting you would like to hang on your wall”. And with that, we walked the show ring together where 21 carriages and horses of all different shapes and sizes had collected, before Barrie and I jumped into his Discovery and we all set off into Windsor Great Park where we could see them in action.

I was given three opportunities to stop at vantage points and see them all trot up for me to judge them and regale their splendour. Manners were important and all of the carriage drivers either doffed their hats and caps or ladies raised their crops in acknowledgment that I had seen them. It was quite splendid.

HM The Queen presents the sashes to the winners

You may think this is an easy job, but it actually became more and more difficult as the afternoon wore on. Barrie then informed me that HM The Queen would be attending the second chukka back at the Guards’ Club and that all the winners from the entire show would be paraded before her and awarded sashes.

After completing our grand tour, and having made my decisions – I was informed to award two classes, the tri-corn with three horses and then the best of the rest – I then had the privilege of handing out rosettes to everyone just before we came out of the Great Park and as Her Majesty, in resplendent lime green, was driven past us on her way to the polo ground.

HM The Queen was resplendent in lime green

We then all made our way over to the Guards’ Club and by chance I met up with the Master Wheelwright who stood with me as we watched Her Majesty, attended by the Crown Equerry, Chairman of the BDS and Hon. Coachmaker Colonel Toby Brown, assist her in awarding the coveted winners’ sashes. A very proud moment. With thanks to the BDS, it was a very special day to remember.