Scotland has a long line of Shetland ponies named Cruachan who have served as mascots for the Royal Regiment of Scotland, and all have been sometimes prickly. Cruachan, which is said to mean “difficult and insurmountable” like a particular Scottish mountain range in Gaelic, seems to like the taste of royal fingertips, and they have had trouble with boundaries.
Town & Country says that Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, recently met the black Shetland pony, and the two got along just fine, but his mother, Queen Elizabeth, and his nephew, Prince Harry, didn’t fare so well with Corporal Cruachan IV.
Back in 1929, Princess Louise, the daughter of Queen Victoria, gifted a Shetland pony, the original Cruachan, to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the precursors to The Royal Regiment of Scotland. But the road between the royal family and Cruachan has not always been as smooth as Prince Andrew’s experience. Rod Mackenzie, a curator for the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Museum at Stirling Castle, says that many incarnations of Cruachan have been feisty.
“The various Cruachans have been a little temperamental and stubborn at times.”
And as far as records are concerned, Cruachan IV, in particular, has a way of stealing the spotlight.
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The Queen holds her nose after a naughty Shetland pony relieves itself in front of her. The tiny pony, called Cruachan IV, has previously tried to eat the Queen's flowers and nipped Prince Harry's hand during his visit to Edinburgh with Meghan Markle. #queen #royalvisit #Scotland #CruachanIV
It seems that the first Cruachan was an escape artist who liked to kick people in the shins, and Cruachan II enjoyed a pint a bit too much, while IV is a nibbler who needs some etiquette lessons.
Queen Elizabeth is said to have gotten off to a rough start with Cruachan II (ponies can live a long time). During a parade, the pony managed to chew his way through the monarch’s glove. In 2017, Cruachan IV managed to grab a bouquet of flowers from the queen, to have a light snack during an event, she pulled it back, telling him to “go away!” His side of the story, per his Twitter account, is that he thought she brought him a treat, as she is a nice lady.
While Queen Elizabeth might have forgiven Cruachan for getting peckish at their last meeting, she literally had to hold her nose during their next meeting in which he needed the little pony’s room, as the Daily Mail reported, and things got awkward.
When Prince Harry attempted to introduce Meghan Markle to Cruachan, he got a bit more than he bargained for. Meghan is a well-known animal lover, who could not hold back her giggles when Cpl. Cruachan IV nibbled his fingers during an event.