The Story of Virtual Windsor

The Royal Windsor Horse Show was founded in 1943, with the aim of raising money for the Wings for Victory Campaign to help the War Effort, and providing entertainment for visitors during those difficult times.

This year, 2020, marks only the third time that the Show has been cancelled in its 77 year history. In response, we have launched Virtual Windsor, which brings the Show online, complete with virtual showing classes, shopping, news and a round-up of the best content from across equestrian social media to keep our visitors entertained.

In doing this, we are also supporting the NHS Charities Covid-19 Urgent Appeal, raising money for staff and volunteers supporting patients with Covid-19. You can donate here, or on our Competitions page when you submit your entry, and we hope you will support the NHS by giving generously.


A History of the Royal Windsor Horse Show:

Royal Windsor Horse Show was first staged in 1943 to help raise funds for the War effort. It has continued to run every year since and is now the only show in the UK to host international competitions in Show Jumping, Dressage, Driving and Endurance.

In 1943 Count Robert Orssich and Mr Geoffrey Cross were inspired by the ‘Wings for Victory’ campaign and set about organising a Horse and Dog Show in Windsor to raise money for the War effort. The first show was simply called the Windsor Horse and Dog Show. It took place on Wednesday 26th May 1943 and helped the Royal Borough raise £391,197 – enough money to buy 78 Typhoon fighter aircraft. It was attended by all the key members of the Royal Family including King George VI, Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) and the two young princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret.

Dogs have not been allowed into the Showground since 1944; this is because at the first show in 1943, a lurcher stole a piece of chicken from King George V’s lunch plate. The Committee found this so mortifying that they have banned dogs from the Showground ever since.

The Show was extended to two days in 1946three days in 1947four days in 1967 and five days in 1977.

The Queen has always been a keen horsewoman and at the first show she won the Pony and Dogcart class. Since then Her Majesty has entered many homebred horses and ponies in classes at the show. The British Royal family continue to be keen supporters of the Show to this day. His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh, was a regular competitor in the International Driving Grand Prix and finally retired from competing in 2003.

The Show has grown in size and in international importance since its inaugural event. It now encompasses a huge variety of equestrian sport. From the spectacular Land Rover International Carriage Driving Grand Prixnational and international Show Jumping competitions to extensive showing classes and enthralling equestrian displays, it is unique in its breadth of appeal.

In 2018, Royal Windsor Horse Show celebrated 75 years.

You might also like to see these old Pathé News videos from 1962 and 1964.

1962 Video

1964 Video