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The Queen's Cars

By Tim Barnes-Clay | September 13, 2022

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The Queen was a shining example of how to live a life of compassion and good humour. From all of us at Regit, we'd like to issue a huge 'thank you' for your time leading our nation and wish now that you can rest in peace.

Queen Elizabeth II’s death last week shocked the UK and the Commonwealth – and understandably so. Anyone under 75 or 80 has never known anything besides Her Majesty being our Head of State.

Following her passing, many things that define Britain will change, including the monarch's face on our stamps, banknotes and coins. Even the classic 'EIIR’ symbols will be replaced on all newly-installed red post boxes.

Because all these things bear her identity, they have become quintessential symbols of Britishness over the last seven decades.

The same can be said of Her Majesty’s cars.

It can be no coincidence that vehicles used by the Queen, such as Bentleys, Rolls-Royces and Land Rovers, have become the embodiment of the Great British automotive industry.

As she was known before her ascendency to the throne, Princess Elizabeth was no stranger to life under the bonnet either, training as a driver and mechanic in her mid-teen years as part of her contribution to Britain's war effort.

No doubt inspired by this, and despite us seeing her being chauffeur-driven a lot of the time as Queen, she was known to be a keen driver.

Her experience gained during World War Two meant she was adept at driving rugged off-road vehicles from a young age. And she could often be found at the wheel of Land Rover Defenders, especially at her beautiful Sandringham Estate in Norfolk.

Once you include the various Range Rovers she's had over the years, it's believed she owned around 30 vehicles bearing Land Rover badges in her lifetime.

The Queen's fleet has included countless cars: Rovers, Aston Martins, Jaguars and, more recently, a Bentley Bentayga.

Not all have necessarily been driven by her, though. Charles, our new King, was known to be fond of Aston Martins, for example, and likely did most of the driving in the family’s 2003 Vanquish.

Indeed, Charles was so fond of his 1969 DB6 that, when he was criticised for driving it while developing his passion as an environmentalist, Aston Martin rebuilt the car’s engine so it could be run on white wine wastage instead of unleaded.

Sadly, when it comes to most of the Queen’s well-known cars, it’s unlikely she has ever driven any of them, but they at least gave rise to any occasion and were, quite literally, fit for a Queen.

When the cameras were on her at public engagements, she was chauffeured in vehicles known as State Cars, which included three mid-20th century Rolls-Royce Phantoms.

It is said that, when her 1955 Phantom IV was being built, care had to be taken to ensure it would fit inside the garage of Britannia, the Royal Yacht, as the car was needed for tours of foreign countries.

The bumpers had to be removed from the later Phantom V model, of which two models were received in 1960 and 1961, to enable it to fit on board.

One of the Phantom V models is still part of the five-strong state car fleet today, along with two Phantom VI models, which she took delivery of in 1978 and 1987

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The Queen’s most recent state car acquisitions are now 20 years old. Both are 6.7-litre V8-powered 400PS Bentley State Limousines with armoured glass and doors, specially built by Bentley for her Golden Jubilee in 2002.

Each is said to be worth around £10 million.

In the same year, she took delivery of her third Range Rover Landaulet, which was replaced by a new modified hybrid variant in 2015.

This special car, known officially as a ‘State Review’ vehicle, provides a convertible top at the back, which can be removed, allowing the rear seat passengers to stand up, through the gap in the roof, to wave to crowds.

Three more Range Rovers joined the wider Royal fleet earlier this year.

The Queen also owned a Daimler Super Eight, although most would recognise it as a long-wheelbase variant of the Jaguar XJ.

A Vauxhall Cresta PA Estate was still in her possession at the time of her passing and is kept at Sandringham in Norfolk. She also had a Cresta PC Estate for those who appreciate the difference.

Likewise, a Rover P5 and P5B were once owned by Her Majesty, while more Daimlers and Jaguars have followed since, including two stretched limousine variants of the latest Jaguar XJ, which were added to the fleet of Royal cars in 2012.

Around five years ago, she was photographed heading to church in Windsor at the wheel of a Jaguar X-Type Estate, still driving herself at the tender age of 91.

She had impeccable taste in cars and, as life goes on without her, we are confident her fondness for four wheels with live on with King Charles III.

The Queen was known to have a great sense of humour and, given her unblemished record behind the wheel, there is one piece of irony which is sure to raise a smile.

Because driving licences were, strictly speaking, issued in her name, she was exempt from needing one herself.

As a result, despite compulsory testing being introduced just after her ninth birthday, the Queen never had to pass a driving test either.

It is abundantly clear, though, that she'd have faced no obstacles if she did.

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