Majestic sculpture of King Charles III created ahead of Coronation
The 253-year-old Gold State Coach has been used at every Coronation since 1831 but today, King Charles and Queen Camilla are travelling to the Coronation in the Diamond Jubilee State carriage.
Fit with electric windows, lighting, heating, and even air conditioning, the vehicle is far more comfortable than the Gold State Coach which the Queen said made her feel queasy on her big day in 1953.
But while Charles is clear on his plans to modernise the Royal Family, the Australian-made Diamond Jubilee State Coach, made as a gift to the Queen for her Diamond Jubilee in 2015, is more than just a comfortable ride — it is also shrouded in history.
The interior of the coach, which weighs three tonnes and is almost 20 feet long, includes woods, metals and materials, all of which have specific connections to the UK and its history.
Adorned with 24 diamonds and 130 sapphires along with items connected to 30 kings and queens of Britain and historical sites across the UK, the coach will see that the new King’s arrival is shrouded in both style and substance.
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The magnificent Diamond Jubilee State Coach in full
Charles, Camilla and Queen travel in the coach to the State Opening of Parliament in 2019
Florence Nightingale’s dress
The interior, which is decorated in primrose yellow silk, contains a fragment of a dress worn by Florence Nightingale.
The lady with the lamp is a national heroine who dedicated her life to healthcare reform. Considered the founder of modern nursing, she helped develop the profession both in Britain and abroad.
Her work was noted by the Royal Family at the time as she impressed Queen Victoria, who sent her a gold brooch, the Nightingale Jewel as a mark of appreciation.
The back of the brooch read: “To Miss Florence Nightingale, as a mark of esteem and gratitude for her devotion towards the Queen’s brave soldiers, from Victoria R. 1855.”
The interior of the coach door with fragments relevant to UK history
The chic carriage interior
Another view of a door, with pieces of wood from British historic locations
The Mary Rose
A section of Henry VIII’s flagship vessel, which was lost during a battle with France in 1545, is included in the Coach. The iconic ship’s wreckage, which was located in the depths of the Solent in 1971, is of great significance to the King.
Charles was involved in the mammoth effort to excavate it in 1982, himself diving down to examine the remains of the vessel on several occasions.
The Monarch will also be taking pieces of the Antarctica bases of Captain Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton on the journey with him.
Captain Scott, a British Royal Navy best known for reaching the South Pole, led two expeditions to the Antarctic regions, the second of which ended in tragedy.
A piece of Sir Edmund Hillary’s Everest ladder is also included in the Coach. Hillary and a Sherpa mountaineer, part of the ninth British expedition to Everest led by John Hunt, became the first to reach the summit in 1953.
The King’s Coronation procession route will touch on several historic landmarks
King Charles will travel to his Coronation in style
Sir Issac Newton’s apple tree
Many of us will remember learning in school how Newton’s observation that an apple falls downward rather than upward led him to develop his law of gravity, published in his Principia in 1687.
Charles is also taking a segment of this famous tree from which the apple is believed to have fallen with him to the Coronation. The Flower of Kent apple tree is found in the garden of Woolsthorpe Manor, near Grantham in Lincolnshire.
Wood from special residences
A piece of Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Windsor Castle, and the Tower of London are all included in the bodywork of the carriage.
Not only this but wood from 10 Downing Street and Althorp — the home and resting place of Diana, Princess of Wales — is also included.
Royal Yacht Britannia
The former royal yacht of the British monarchy was in service from 1954 until 1997. It held a special place in Queen Elizabeth II’s heart and was famously used by the then Prince of Wales and Diana famously for their 1981 Mediterranean cruise honeymoon.
Now, the Coach’s seat handrails are made from pieces of the Royal Yacht, which was dubbed the floating palace.
A gilded crown can be seen on top of the Jubilee Coach. This has been carved from oak from Lord Nelson’s flagship, the HMS Victory, the world’s oldest naval ship still in commission.
But, just as Charles seeks to modernise the monarchy, this element combines old and new. Within the oak that is some 245 years old is a camera that can film the momentous journey Charles is finally taking to the throne.