Diamond Jubilee State Coach
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 but completion was delayed for nearly 8 years. Eventually, it became a commemoration for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
The coach was used for the first time at the State Opening of Parliament on 4 June 2014. It has been in regular service since, often used for state visits, and 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 and 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 and is now part of the Royal Collection and can be officially put to use.
Frecklington's intention was to create a coach that would encapsulate the history and heritage of the United Kingdom by incorporating material from Britain’s historic buildings, ships and other artifacts. The Diamond Jubilee State Coach is therefore an especially wide-ranging representation of the great events, figures and objects of British history ever assembled, items directly related to more than 30 kings and queens of England, Scotland and Ireland, the most influential characters in British history, her greatest victories, her most treasured places, and her greatest contributions to the world.
Frecklington funded the construction of the coach as a private initiative with some help from the Australian government in form of a $250,000 (£138,000) grant. The coach weighs 2.75 tons and is 18 ft long (5.5 m) and 11 ft high (3.4 m). Like the Australian State Coach, the Diamond Jubilee State Coach has electric windows, heating and hydraulic stabilisers.
- The crown atop the roof is carved from timber from Lord Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory.
- 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and other famous figures are also included as well as digital copies of the Magna Carta and Domesday Book.
- The two door handles, made by a New Zealand jeweller, are individually decorated with 24 diamonds and 130 sapphires.
- The lamps were handmade by Edinburgh Crystal.
- Amanda Killelea (3 June 2014). "Queen's new carriage made from Isaac Newton's apple tree, Nelson's ship and Dambusters plane". The Mirror.
- Eccleston, Paul (30 Apr 2007). "Britannia, the time machine fit for a Queen". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
- ITV News (3 June 2014). "Queen's new state coach celebrates British history". ITV.
- Henry Budd (May 27, 2011). "No missing this Royal coach on Google". The Daily Telegraph (AU). Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- Tom Rowley (4 June 2014). "Queen's Speech: a timeless new coach, only eight years too late". The Daily Telegraph.
- Jim Frecklington. "The State Coach Britannia". WJ Frecklington. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- Rose Peterson (May 2009). "Regal Splendour Rules in the New State Coach Britannia" (PDF). Carriage Driving.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Diamond Jubilee State Coach.|
- The Royal Collection Trust: The Diamond Jubilee State Coach – Official page
- The State Coach Britannia at downau.com (with images)
- Historic Items list