The King and Queen Consort will ride in two coaches on their coronation day – the Australian-built modern Diamond Jubilee state coach and the less comfortable but equally grand 260-year-old Gold state coach.
Charles and Camilla have personally decided to make their two kilometre outward journey – known as the King’s procession – from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey on May 6 in the more comfortable Diamond Jubilee state coach.
The black carriage with gilded decorations is the newest in Buckingham Palace’s Royal Mews.
First used by the Queen at the state opening of the UK parliament in 2014, it has shock absorbers to stop it from swaying, and heating, internal lights and power windows.
The carriage is more than five metres long, weighs over three tonnes and needs six horses to pull it.
Built in Australia, it combines traditional craftsmanship and modern technology, and its aluminium body is prevented from swaying by six hydraulic stabilisers.
Its interior is made from objects donated by more than 100 historic sites across Britain.
The seat handrails are from the Royal Yacht Britannia and it also contains fragments from Henry VIII’s warship the Mary Rose, Sir Isaac Newton’s apple tree and the Antarctic bases of Captain Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton in its bodywork.
Charles and the Queen Consort will swap the Diamond Jubilee for the Gold state coach on their journey back to Buckingham Palace after being crowned in the Abbey.
The grandest royal coach in the Royal Mews is more than 260 years old and made of giltwood, a thin layer of gold leaf over wood, and was first used by George III.
The late Queen rode both ways in the Gold state coach for her 1953 coronation, famously describing the bumpy experience as “horrible”.
It weighs four tonnes, is 3.6 metres tall and seven metres long, and needs eight horses to pull it.
The coach is suspended on leather straps and is said to creak like an old galleon as it rolls along.
Only a sovereign and their consort are permitted to travel in the historic coach.
Built in 1762, the carriage has been used at every coronation since 1831, but even the then-monarch William IV – who was known as the Sailor King – likened it to “being aboard a ship tossing in a rough sea”.
Queen Victoria was not a fan and complained of its “distressing oscillation”.
The coach features magnificent painted panels of Roman gods and goddesses, rich gilded sculptures including three cherubs on the roof representing England, Scotland and Ireland, and four massive triton figures above each wheel.
It was last seen on the streets of London for the Platinum Jubilee pageant last year, when it travelled empty except for archive footage of Elizabeth II on her coronation day projected on to its windows.
Before that, it had not been used since the Golden Jubilee of 2002.
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