Updated: Apr 2, 2020
The Diamond Jubilee State Coach (initially known as the State Coach Britannia) is an enclosed, six-horse-drawn carriage that was made to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II's 80th birthday, although due to delays, it took another eight years to complete. The coach eventually became a commemoration for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
The coach was used for the first time on 4 June 2014 at the State Opening of Parliament. It's been in regular service ever since, often used for state visits. The coach is housed in the Royal Mews along with the other state coaches.
The carriage was built in Australia by coachbuilder W. J. Frecklington, previously responsible for constructing the 1988 Australian State Coach.
Although completed in 2010, the coach did not arrive in London until March 2014 due to issues with funding its transportation. Before that point, Buckingham Palace was claiming that Frecklington had completed the coach of his own initiative & that it was not an official royal coach, although Frecklington stated that the coach was endorsed (but not commissioned) by Buckingham Palace. However, the coach was subsequently purchased by the Royal Collection Trust for an undisclosed sum & is now part of the Royal Collection & can be officially put to use.
Frecklington's intention was to create a coach that would encapsulate the history & heritage of the United Kingdom by incorporating material from Britain’s historic buildings, ships & other artifacts.
The Diamond Jubilee State Coach is therefore an especially wide-ranging representation of the great events, figures & objects of our British history ever assembled, items directly related to more than 30 kings & queens of England, Scotland & Ireland, the most influential characters in British history, her greatest victories, her most treasured places, & her greatest contributions to the world.
W. J. Frecklington funded the construction of the coach as a private initiative with some help from the Australian government in form of a $250,000 grant. The coach weighs a hefty 2.75 tons & is 18 ft long (5.5 m) & 11 ft high (3.4 m). Like the Australian State Coach, the Diamond Jubilee State Coach has electric windows, heating & hydraulic stabilisers, a bit of an update from Queen Victoria's time :-)
The Key Features Are (with links to each website);
Timber segments from The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, Edinburgh Castle, Henry VIII's flagship the Mary Rose, the Mayflower, Balmoral Castle, Blenheim Palace, Caernarfon Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Carlisle Cathedral, Chichester Cathedral, Durham Cathedral, Ely Cathedral, Hampton Court Palace, Holyrood Palace, Kensington Palace, Lincoln Cathedral, Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, Osborne House, Salisbury Cathedral, St George's Chapel, Stirling Castle, The Palace of Westminster, the Royal Pavilion, the White House at Kew, Wells Cathedral, Westminster Cathedral, Winchester Cathedral, Windsor Castle, York Minster & others are inlaid into the interior lining of the coach.
Also included is material donated by the Scottish Government from the Stone of Scone, wood from the Ferriby Boats (~1800BC), a segment of material donated by the Canadian Government from the Franklin expedition 1845 & others from the former Royal Yacht HMY Britannia, HMS Endeavour, The Battle of Hastings, RMS Queen Mary, RMS Olympic, SS Great Britain, RSS Discovery, an original counterweight from Big Ben, a Battle of Britain Spitfire & Hawker Hurricane, a Dambusters Lancaster, part of a musketball from the Battle of Waterloo.
Segments related to Shakespeare, Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Edward Jenner, John Harrison, Joseph Banks, Florence Nightingale & other famous figures are also included as well as digital copies of the Magna Carta & Domesday Book.
The two door handles, made by a New Zealand jeweller, are individually decorated with 24 diamonds & 130 sapphires.
The lamps were handmade by Edinburgh Crystal.
Windsor Greys draw the carriages in which The Queen, other members of the Royal Family & guests travel. They're so called because they used to be kept at Windsor in Victorian times, where they drew the private carriages of the Royal Family. Windsor Greys are at least 16.1 hands (1.65m) high at the withers (the point on a horse's neck where the mane begins to grow) & are chosen for their steady temperament & stamina.
These horses are used to pick up high commissioners & ambassadors presenting their credentials to The Queen, for other day-to-day activities, & as workhorses.
I guess this is why this coach is my favourite, as a history lover, it is sheer perfection, to include so much material from the above events in our history is simply mind-blowing, just priceless.
I hope you enjoy the rest of these amazing photos & videos as much as I do :-)
Remember you can visit the Royal Mews yourself & see the amazing work behind the scenes & see the coaches close up in person.
Between April and October, you can take a 45-minute guided tour of the Royal Mews with our Wardens. Learn details about the historic carriages and modern cars, and hear about the work needed to prepare for major State and ceremonial occasions. Tours take place daily from the security area at 10:15, 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00 and 16:00.
Also you can buy the new Royal Mews souvenir guide book;
www.thebritishmonarchy.co.uk - Promoting the Royal Family Past & Present
Visit our Amazon Stores for a great selection of Royal books, DVD's , wall art & much more