When we think of The Queen, we think of Buckingham Palace, the corgis and her signature hand wave. But what about cars? It may surprise you to hear that our monarch has quite a collection, ranging from luxury to ultra-luxury. So, in answer to the title question, our Queen is quite the petrol head. Let’s take a look at some of her favourite vehicles.
The Queen; the driver
First of all, we have to talk about The Queen’s history with driving. Though she doesn’t legally need a licence (well, she is The Queen after all), she did gain one while learning to drive during World War II. Princess Elizabeth joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1945 where she served as a truck driver and mechanic. She remains the only female royal family member to join the military.
The height of luxury
It’s no surprise that Her Majesty’s cars are at the top end of the luxury scale. The complete collection is said to be worth over £10 million. This includes the very first royal car which was purchased by King Edward VII; a 1900 Daimler Phaeton. In addition to this, there’s also a range of vintage cars including Bentleys and Jaguars belonging to the royal collection.
Despite having free rein to choose whichever car she wishes, it’s clear the Queen favours a few significant brands. Notably, British brands. Throughout the years, she has had a range of cars by Bentley, Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin.
Custom state twins
The brand that is probably most associated with the royals is Bentley. That is most likely because the two stand-out cars in the state car fleet are a pair of bespoke Bentleys. The twin Bentleys haven’t always been twins. The original limousine, measuring 6.22 metres long, was made as a one-off gift to Her Majesty for her Golden Jubilee. She commissioned a second to be made because she was so impressed. What makes these cars so special is that they are built precisely to The Queen’s requirements.
In addition to being armoured and built with a monocoque construction, The Queen can exit elegantly by standing up due to the rear-hinged back doors. She is also seated in style on top of Hield Lambswool Sateen cloth seats while the rest of the car is upholstered with a pale grey Connolly leather hide. And the reason we can see her inside is because the roof covering can be removed at her leisure.
Despite rarely topping speeds of 9mph, these cars are capable of reaching up to 130mph on their Kevlar-reinforced tyres. They are fitted with 6.75-litre twin-turbo V8 engines which run on eco-friendly biofuel and are controlled with a four-speed automatic gearbox manufactured by General Motors.
It may surprise you to hear that The Queen was the first customer of the new Bentley Bentayga. The most powerful, and most expensive SUV in the world boasts capabilities of 187mph and 600bhp with its W12 engine. Prices start from a mighty £160,200 but can easily soar to half a million plus with bespoke additions. The Queen loves customisation, and Bentley is happy to accommodate her requirements, even off the ‘standard’ scale.
2001 Jaguar Daimler V8 Super LWB
This car was personally driven by Her Majesty around her estate at Windsor Castle. What may look like a regular model is, of course, highly modified. In true James Bond style, The Queen can be identified by the secret service with the push of a button on the cigarette lighter. This activates a set of neon lights, visible even in smoke. A radio in the boot can reach Downing Street and the Home Office for added security.
More luxurious touches include lambswool upholstered seats and the ability to funnel air to the sides of her face. The Queen can also store her handbag in a sliding holder inside her armrest. One thing’s for sure; she definitely likes to arrive in style.
2002 Land Rover Defender
Having owned around 30 Land Rovers throughout her lifetime, this vehicle is a clear winner when it comes to preference. The custom Defender was bought by Sandringham in 2002 and had all the royal specifications you’d expect. Alongside heated seats and electric windows, the car’s interior was clad in green leather. The suspension was adjusted perfectly for The Queen to make it easier for her to power across the estate with a 4.2-litre V8 engine. However, she no longer owns this particular one as it was auctioned a few years back and sold for a tidy £30,240.
2015 Range Rover LWB Landaulet
The royal family and The Queen have had a lasting relationship with Land Rover since their Series 1 was first used for state processions in 1953. And, like the customer Bentleys, Her Majesty can easily exit and enter the vehicle with the same rear-hinged doors and see her adoring crowds with an open-air top.
By now you’ll realise that no royal vehicle is complete without a touch of personalisation. You wouldn’t mistake this car in a hurry, as it has the royal flag adorned across the bonnet. It is also sprayed in a rich maroon, again similar to that of the state cars. It comes complete with the new diesel hybrid powertrain; a 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6 meets an electric motor. The car can reach a maximum 335bhp with a strong 700Nm of torque.
So, whether being chauffeured in state of the art Bentley or cruising her estate in a Land Rover, one thing is clear. The Queen loves driving just as much as any hardcore petrol head.
What are your thoughts on the royal cars? Let us know in the comments!