By Grahamedown – Own work, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
King Charles and Queen Camilla will arrive in style for their coronation at Westminster Abbey.
The Royal Family has announced that the royal couple will travel in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey.
The modern-day carriage is made of aluminium and has air-conditioning and electric windows. Originally planned as an 80th birthday gift to Queen Elizabeth II, the carriage construction was delayed for eight years. It ended up being gifted to her for her Diamond Jubilee.
It was first used for the State Opening of Parliament in 2014. Equipped with hydraulic stabilisers, the carriage is used quite frequently.
W.J. Frecklington built the carriage in Australia. Full of symbolism, the carriage is a journey through history.
On the roof is a gold-leaf covered oak crown carved from Lord Nelson’s ship, HMS Victory. The interior is made of inlaid pieces of wood and metal from buildings, including the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, Edinburgh Castle, Balmoral Castle, Hampton Court Palace, and Windsor Castle name a few.
A piece of Florence Nightingale’s dress is part of the carriage as well as Henry VII’s ship, The Mary Rose, Sir Isaac Newton’s apple tree and Sir Edmund Hillary’s Everest ladders. The handrails are from the Royal Yacht Britannia.
The government of Scotland donated bits from the Stone of Scone, while Canada contributed material from the 1845 Franklin expedition.
There are items connected to 30 kings and queens of England, Ireland and Scotland, as well as notable events in British history. It is only the second state coach to be created in 100 years.
It’s not without glamour. The Diamond Jubilee State Coach door handles have 24 diamonds and 130 sapphires, and a jeweller in New Zealand designed them. The four lamps on the corners of the carriage are made of Edinburgh Crystal.
The Diamond Jubilee State Coach is taller than an average car at 11 feet high, is 18 feet long and weighs three tons.
Providing a comfortable ride, this coach was probably chosen as the stately yet smooth ride to Westminster Abbey. It will allow the royal couple a few moments of relaxation during the 1.3-mile trip before the coronation. But it also enables King Charles and Queen Camilla to symbolically bring history and the Commonwealth with them to the door of the abbey.
The new King and Queen will be in the 253-year-old Gold State Coach on the return trip to Buckingham Palace. This slower-moving coach will allow the crowds a greater chance of seeing the royal couple.
However, it is notorious for being uncomfortable. Queen Elizabeth described riding in the Gold State Coach as “horrible,” and William IV said it was “like being on a ship in a rough sea.”