UK

Queen's Speech 2014: New three-tonne coach unveiled

INTERACTIVE
  • Wheel

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    The wheels - cast in aircraft aluminium - feature the name of coach designer and builder Australian Jim Frecklington. It was originally intended to reach the Queen in time for her 80th birthday, but various delays meant it took 10 years to complete. It has been bought by the Royal Collection Trust for an undisclosed sum and will go on display at the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace.

  • Stone of Destiny

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    A piece of the Stone of Destiny, used for centuries in the coronation of monarchs, is set into a panel below the seats. The seats themselves are upholstered in pastel gold-coloured silk brocade. Other decorations include a bolt from a Spitfire, a musket ball from the battle of Waterloo and a fragment of a 617 Squadron Dambuster. The doors are inlaid with diamonds and sapphires.

  • Wood

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    The interior walls and doors of the carriage are inlaid with small varnished wooden squares from a range of historic sources, such as Henry VIII’s warship Mary Rose, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and the apple tree, which inspired Sir Isaac Newton to form his theory of gravity. The handrails are made from Royal Yacht Britannia timber.

  • Crown

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    The golden crown on the roof was carved from wood from Lord Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory. In total, about 400 books of gold leaf were used to decorate the vehicle.

  • Carriage technology

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    The carriage is fitted with gold-plated hydraulics, to ensure a smooth ride. Inside, it also has a heater, electric windows and a 360-degree camera, to give a monarch's view of the procession.

The Queen will travel to the State Opening of Parliament in a new coach marking hundreds of years of history.

The bodywork of the carriage features fragments of Henry VIII's warship the Mary Rose, Sir Isaac Newton's apple tree and the Stone of Destiny.

The Diamond Jubilee coach is only the second state carriage to be built in more than 100 years.

Wednesday's Queen's Speech will set out the government's legislative programme for the next year.

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Media captionCarriage maker Jim Frecklington tells the story of the Queen's new state carriage

The handrails inside the Diamond Jubilee state coach are made from Royal Yacht Britannia timber and a wooden crown covered in gold leaf - which forms the centrepiece of the roof's decorations - was carved from oak from Nelson's flagship, HMS Victory.

Many of the historical items are pieces of wood which have been fashioned into small varnished squares used to decorate the interior walls and door panels.

The coach has modern features, however, such as six hydraulic stabilisers - covered in gold leaf - fitted to the carriage to ensure a smooth ride, as well as electric windows and heaters.


Queen's carriage by numbers

3: Weight, in tonnes

5.5: Length, in metres

6: Number of horses needed to draw carriage

400: Books of decorative gold leaves used


The coach was conceived and created by Jim Frecklington in his workshop in Manly, a suburb of Sydney, Australia.

He has spent the last decade building the majority of the royal carriage, with the help of a host of artisans and craftsmen and women.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Frecklington used to work for the Royal Household, looking after the Queen's show horses

'Very special'

Mr Frecklington, who has travelled to London for the occasion, said: "I wanted to create something very special to mark the Queen's reign.

"Our present Queen will go down in history as one of the greatest monarchs that's ever lived and I thought something very special, a tangible item, should be produced."

Mr Frecklington received initial funding from the Australian government but also used his own money to construct the carriage.

He added: "It will be a very special day to see this coach being used.

"This new coach will give me a lot of pleasure and also give a lot of Australian and British people pleasure because there are so many people, especially living here in Britain, who have so much connection with it."

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