Rocking horse St John’s Church

Are you sitting comfortably and enjoying the view? Perfect! Then allow me to introduce myself! My name is Charles, Prince Charles actually. I spent my boyhood in Mechelen and so I know the city like the back of my hand. I was born in 1500 and grew up on Keizerstraat at the court of my aunt Margareta of Austria. That’s the palace with the beautiful inner garden.

Here in Mechelen and all over the world they know me as Emperor Charles V. My empire that was so vast that the sun never set on it. I reigned over more than 27 kingdoms, 13 duchies and 22 counties in Europe, Central America and North Africa. Sadly, I was unable to enjoy them for long. I was just 58 when I died in Yuste in Spain.

Where you rock, I tell stories about the city and in particular about the places I have fond memories of.

Please note that all rocking horses are currently in the barn for maintenance. Therefore, you won’t be able to visit the horses temporarily.

Rocking horse St John’s Church

Every Sunday I attended mass with my aunt and sisters. We always looked forward to Sundays because there was often festivity in the city. For my tenth birthday, a deer hunt was organized on the Grote Markt. You should have seen it! I had a fantastic view of the spectacle from the first floor of De Zwaan inn, the building that now houses De Met brasserie.

I was mad about hunting, but most of all I liked playing knights. I imagined I was fighting the heroes depicted on the tapestries at my aunt’s. And, naturally, I also liked playing with my friends. I was always the goodie – I was the crown prince, after all – and I fought my companions with a wooden sword. They always had to lose because they were the baddies of course.

In winter, if it had snowed, we amused ourselves with a splendid sleigh in the shape of a boat, decorated with masts, pennants and coats of arms. My sisters and I had made it ourselves, and we went on many excursions in it, sometimes even outside the city walls.

  • You will also find this walk in the Visit Mechelen app. That way you can follow the horses on a map without having to scan the QR code each time. Download the app here.

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