Stag party traditions: a right royal stag do
To be a stag is to be a prince among men for the night…or these days, more likely, for several successive nights of revelry and debauchery. But of course some stags really are princes and kings and they like to have a good old knees up just as much as their lowlier cousins. So, roll up good Englanders. Let us pull aside the red damask curtain ‘tween King and commoner and take a peek at what the royals get up to before they are wed.
King of revellers, Henry VIII, commanded his friends, by letter or town crier, to appear at his 15th century bachelor parties. A no-show could result in a penalty of death. He was keen on a spot of beheading that Henry. Once present and correct, the party-goers were treated to a lavish feast. Henry loved music and dancing. He was said to leap about like a young stag (of the deer variety), though maybe that refers more to his first stag do than his last one, by which time he had become distinctly portly.
King Charles II was infamous for his love of women and his high profile mistresses, including the buxom Nell Gwyn. Being a king however, Charles had to marry and so he married Catherine of Braganza, from Portugal, in 1662. Charles’ stag party shenanigans are shrouded in the mists of time. However, Charles II was known as ‘the prince who loved to party’, so he may well have given modern day party-lover Prince Harry a run for his money.
Galloping swiftly towards the present day, Prince Charles held a fairly restrained and private stag party before his marriage to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. Around 20 of his closest friends joined him at White’s. an exclusive gentlemen’s club in St James. They dined on hors d’oeuvres, cold meats, raspberries and cheeses, all washed down with Bollinger champagne and vintage port.
Prince William followed his father’s lead when it came to his stag do in 2011. He managed to dodge the attentions of the press for a thoroughly private stag weekend, on a country estate in Norfolk. Around 20 of his friends helped him celebrate his final days as a single man, before his wedding to long-term love Kate Middleton. William managed to keep his stag activities under wraps, but no doubt eating, drinking and making merry were involved, continuing the right royal tradition of stag dos through the ages.
These days, stag dos have really branched out. Stag parties can now be spied off-road driving, clay pigeon shooting, white-water rafting and engaging in a wide variety of other whacky pursuits.
One such whacky activity is Welsh Games, one of the many Brecon Beacons activities that are on offer. Lock horns with your best mates in some of the most hilarious games you’ve ever seen since times of old. Are you man enough to remain on top of the sheep, quick enough to race the Drunk Dragons or strong enough to Pull the Pit Pony?
All this fun takes place every Saturday from March to October on pastures green and held at the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park. This beautiful expanse of grassy, heather-clad mountains is quickly becoming one of the most popular destinations for stag groups looking for a big dose of adrenaline and adventure.
So just like their royal overlords, stags across Britain are still proudly carrying on the centuries-old traditions of feasting, drinking and ribaldry, as a celebration of their last days of bachelorhood.