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Unique mode of royal transport saved from scrap yard and returned to Balmoral

A horse-drawn Hungarian Hunting Phaeton dating back to 1850 is saved from a scrapyard and returned to its former home, Balmoral Castle. The Phaeton is on loan to the castle by the Grampian Transport Museum in Aberdeenshire.

Grampian Transport Museum's photos

The Phaeton was purchased by Queen’s Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, to be used by the Royal couple when they were at their Scottish home. Prince Albert had bought Balmoral Castle just two years ago and discovered that it was not easy traversing around the 50,000 acre estate. The Phaeton was purchased as a shooting wagon, to transport shooting parties across the estate to hunt grouse and other game. It was built by Carl Helmbold in Cross Beskerek in Hungary and pulled by a pair of hardy Garron ponies

Little is known about what happened to the Phaeton after its purchase and initial period of use, but it was finally disposed of in a scrap yard in Huntly in the 1950s. From there, it went to the St Cuthberts Co-operative Society in Edinburgh. They donated it to the Grampian Transport Museum, who have now loaned it to Balmoral Castle, where it will go on display this April.

“When it sent [sic] to the Huntly scrap yard it was incredibly still in its original condition – it has not been restored, which is quite amazing,” said a spokesman or the museum. “It is a truly magnificent vehicle and it is fitting that it should return to Balmoral again.”

“The vehicle is currently complete but is awaiting some mechanical work. GTM is delighted to be able to lend this vehicle to Balmoral, where it will be on display for the forthcoming season,” he added.

The Phaeton is similar to an ivory-mounted one made for Queen Victoria in 1842. The Queen’s Phaeton is still in use today. Her Majesty uses it to travel to and from Trooping the Colour, the official celebration of the Sovereign’s birthday.

Also on loan from the Museum is a 1949 Daimler DE36 Landaulette. The luxury car was ordered by King George VI in 1948 and was used as a State Vehicle until 1960, first by The King himself, and then by his daughter, Queen Elizabeth. After finishing 12 years in Royal service and covering over 40,000 miles, the Daimler was sent to Queensland, Australia. It returned to England in 1988.

Photo credit: With thanks to the Grampian Transport Museum

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