With Charles III’s Coronation edging ever closer, people around the country are preparing themselves for a huge celebration. The big day promises to feature all the pomp and circumstance that has become synonymous with the Royal Family’s celebrations.
At Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Celebrations last year, the Royal Family’s extensive and unique car collection was on full show, conveying the status of the family and the special occasion. This May, we can’t wait to see which cars will be selected from the Royal garage to carry our prestigious guests.
Here, the vehicle experts at Anglo Scottish Asset Finance take a look at the cars you could see at Charles III’s coronation.
How will Charles’ coronation take place?
Charles III’s coronation ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 6th. The coronation ceremony has barely changed over the last 1000 years, and will be at the centre of plenty of pomp and circumstance.
As well as an all-star concert planned at Windsor Castle, there’ll be two processions taking place across London. First, the King’s Procession, from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey, will lead to the official Coronation Service. After the service has taken place, The King and The Queen Consort will begin a larger procession back to Buckingham Palace, known as the Coronation Procession.
The cars of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral procession were the subject of much media attention – so which cars could we see at Charles’ coronation?
The Gold State Coach
Used at the coronation of every British monarch since George IV, the Gold State Coach is expected to be at the centre of the opulent coronation proceedings. An eight-horse carriage adorned with gilded sculptures and lined with satin and velvet, the coach was commissioned in 1760 and would be worth a touch over $4m in today’s money.
The coach’s age and weight has prevented it from being used for many occasions apart from coronations and royal weddings. Despite all the finery of the coach’s design, however, it’s not a comfortable experience – William IV, George VI and Victoria I all complained about the bumpy ride, whilst an 86-year-old Elizabeth II was excused from riding in it on her Diamond Jubilee.
It’s now been revealed that Charles and Camilla will travel to Westminster Abbey in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, commissioned as a comfier alternative to the Gold State Coach for Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. However, the new King and his Queen Consort will travel back from Westminster in the Gold State Coach – they could be in for an uncomfortable journey!
The Royal Fleet
The Royal Family’s fleet of cars can be separated into State Cars, Royal Review Vehicles, and Semi-State Cars. State Cars are usually used for public engagements and ceremonial occasions, whilst Royal Review Vehicles are modified cars for use at some official parades and cinemas. Semi-State Cars tend to be used in less formal situations, and are less likely to feature as part of the procession.
There are two Royal Review Vehicles, both Range Rovers, and at least six Semi-State Cars. These are two Jaguar XJ Limousines and three Daimler DS420 Limousines, which were recently joined by two or three Range Rovers.
There are five State Cars at the moment – two Bentleys and three Rolls-Royces. The Bentleys, commissioned in 2002 for Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee, are custom-built limousines, with twin-turbocharged 6.75 litre V8 engines. With 400 horsepower and other suitably royal modifications including removable rear windows for maximum visibility, these are every bit the perfect car for the Royal Family.
The Royal garage is also home to three Rolls-Royces: a 1950 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV, a 1978 Phantom VI and a 1987 Phantom VI. Charles and The Queen Consort arrived at Buckingham Palace in the 1978 Phantom VI the day after his accession, and has also driven the 1950 Phantom IV in recent months.
At Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, all five state cars were used – so we could see all five again as part of Charles III’s Coronation Procession.
Charles’ Personal Cars
Now, these are unlikely to show up in the Coronation Procession, which will be reserved for the Royal Fleet, but Charles is something of a car enthusiast himself. Notorious for his work saving the planet, Charles’ collection contains plenty of low- and zero-emissions vehicles, including an Aston Martin DB6 Volante, which is converted to run on E85 fuel made with the wastage from making wine and cheese.
For some engagements, he travels in a Bentley, which is usually required for security reasons, and is owned by the Metropolitan Police. His collection also includes a Jaguar XJ.
Though we can’t be sure exactly which cars will be on show during the big Coronation weekend, you’re certain to see at least some of these prestigious cars! With the advent of a new monarch for the first time since 1952, we might be lucky enough to see some new models on show? Keep an eye out on the big day to find out!