Prince Philip Land Rover: Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral hearse explained - and significance of the design

Prince Philip will be laid to rest at St George’s Chapel in Windsor on Saturday afternoon

When the Duke of Edinburgh is laid to rest later today, 0coffin will be transported by a custom-built Land Rover to his final resting place at St George’s Chapel.

The unconventional hearse was built over a 16-year period with input from the Duke of Edinburgh himself.

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The duke, who died aged 99 on Friday 9 April, made the final adjustments in 2019, the year he turned 98.

The Jaguar Land Rover that will be used to transport the coffin of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at his funeral on Saturday (Getty Images)

The polished sturdy, utilitarian vehicle, with its heavy duty wheels and angular structure, stands as a showcase for the duke’s practical nature, and his passion for functional design and engineering.

How was Prince Philip involved in its design?

He first began the long-lasting venture to create his own bespoke hearse in collaboration with Land Rover in 2003, the year he turned 82.

The Defender was made at Land Rover’s factory in Solihull in 2003 and Philip oversaw the modifications throughout the intervening years.

The duke, who served with distinction in the Second World War and held special associations with all the Armed Forces, requested that the original Belize Green bodywork be switched to Dark Bronze Green, a colour used for many military Land Rovers.

Land Rover has maintained the vehicle since it was built and has prepared it for the funeral in collaboration with the Royal Household.

Thierry Bollore, Jaguar Land Rover’s chief executive hailed Philip’s “impressive knowledge and deep interest in vehicle design, engineering and manufacturing”.

“We are deeply privileged to have enjoyed a very long and happy association with the Duke of Edinburgh over many decades,” he said

“We are also honoured that the Land Rover which the duke designed will be used at the funeral on Saturday.

“The duke was a tremendous champion for design, engineering and technology.

“During his visits to our sites he engaged with hundreds of employees and demonstrated his impressive knowledge and deep interest in vehicle design, engineering and manufacturing.

“The duke was a truly remarkable man and will be greatly missed.”

Land Rover hearse design

The hearse contains an open top rear section where his coffin will rest, made to the Duke of Edinburgh’s exact specifications, including the rubber grips on silver metal pins known as the “stops” or “stoppers” which perform the crucial task of preventing the coffin from moving.

Details on the vehicle include matching green hubs, a black front grille, a single cab and no registration plates.

How will the Land Rover be used on the day?

Eighteen years after the duke began the Land Rover project, the vehicle will finally be used for its intended function on Saturday.

The vehicle will ferry Philip’s coffin in a slow procession from the state entrance of Windsor Castle through the grounds to the west steps of St George’s Chapel, followed by the Prince of Wales and other members of the royal family on foot.

The Land Rover’s original role would also have been to transport the duke 22 miles from Wellington Arch in central London to Windsor, but the coronavirus pandemic curtailed the long-held plans for military parades in honour of Philip through the streets of both the capital and the Berkshire town.