Royal Wedding Wheels
All eyes will be on royal bride Kate Middleton as she makes her way to Westminster Abbey on Friday. By using a car, rather than a horse-drawn carriage, she will be breaking with royal tradition. Good to know that all repairs have been completed to the Rolls-Royce Phantom VI that’s getting her to the church on time. After all, it was damaged as it took the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall to the Royal Variety Performance in December.
Tradition will then be re-established, as the newlyweds ride to Buckingham Palace in the carriage used by William’s parents after their wedding in 1981.
We’ve taken a look at some of the motoring connections of royal family members. Kate, for example, drives a modest silver Audi A3. But will it one day join Princess Diana’s famous red Mini Metro as a museum piece? The Metro, purchased as a present by Prince Charles, is now on display at the Museum of British Road Transport in Coventry.
The Metro did not last long in royal possession. By 1984, Princess Diana had been spotted at the wheel of a Ford Escort XR3i convertible.
Prince Charles has a soft spot for Aston Martins – in particular he is said to be very fond of his open top 5500 DB6, dating from 1971. Prior to that, he drove a sporty little MGC during his university days.
The Queen, some years ago, was a Rover enthusiast through and through. There are many images of her at the wheel of her P5 saloon in Windsor Great Park and Smiths Lawn, including one famous shot of her spinning away across the flooded turf, after a polo match was abandoned in 1963. Five years later, Her Majesty had changed to Vauxhall, and the mighty Cresta PA Estate.
Last word should go to Princess Anne, who received a Reliant Scimitar GTE for her 18th birthday, and remained loyal to it for years afterwards. Scimitars were produced with an emphasis on keeping costs down; hence component parts were often ‘borrowed’ from competitor vehicles. One particularly annoying result of this was that it was impossible to use the driver’s sun visor without knocking the rear view mirror out of line.