The State Coach Britannia is set to enter royal service soon, having reached the Royal Mews after years of construction, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.
The new state coach for the Royal Family, which was completed in 2010 by coachbuilder W.J. Frecklington, was originally a birthday present for The Queen’s 80th birthday. However, various delays have meant it has not yet been used.
Frecklington decided to create a coach which emulates British history and The Royal Family by using a variety of different images and materials relating to British icons, landmarks, artifacts and military ships. The coach encapsulates an array of British events, military victories, famous faces, and objects, with some of the materials relating to more than 30 monarchs of England, Scotland and Ireland.
Timber segments were used from numerous cathedrals, palaces and castles from across Britain to manufacture the coach. These include sections from St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Edinburgh Castle, Hampton Court and Canterbury Cathedral. Parts from Henry VIII’s the Mary Rose and the Elizabethan ship, the Mayflower, were also used, alongside timber from Lord Nelson’s HMS Victory so to create the crown which sits on top of the roof of the coach.
Materials were also donated by the Scottish Government, who contributed with material from the Stone of Scone, whereas the Canadian Government gave a segment from the 1845 Franklin expedition. Elements from the first counterweight from Big Ben, a Dambusters Lancaster, a Battle of Britain Spitfire and parts from a musketball from the Battle of Waterloo were also included.
A number of British icons also appear on the coach, including components relating to William Shakespeare, Charles Darwin, Sir Issac Newton and Edward Jenner, just to name a few. Digitised copies of the Domesday Book and the Magna Carta have also been incorporated.
The two handles on the doors of the coach have been individually adorned with 130 sapphires and 24 diamonds, while the handmade lamps were made from Edinburgh Crystal which appear on all four corners of the coach.
The coach was built by the same company that made the Australia State Coach, commonly used by The Queen at the State Opening of Parliament. Just like its Australian counterpart, the State Coach Britannia has electric windows, heating and hydraulic stabilisers.
Photo credit: Grahamedown