Diamond Jubilee Coach: when was Charles and Camilla’s coronation vehicle built, what’s it made of, how heavy?

King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla will travel in two vehicles during the coronation
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The Diamond Jubilee Coach will be making a fresh outing as part of the coronation events this weekend.

King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla will be coronated at Westminster Abbey on Saturday (6 May). The couple will travel to and from Buckingham Palace in different vehicles, it has been confirmed.

The royal couple will leave the palace at 10.20am and travel along the south side of Trafalgar Square, along Whitehall and Parliament Street, around the east and south sides of Parliament Square to Broad Sanctuary to arrive at the Abbey. The first journey will be made in the Diamond Jubilee state coach.

Charles and Camilla will take a procession through the streets of London following the coronation. It will be a shorter route than the late Elizabeth II and they will take the Gold State Coach.

When was the Diamond Jubilee Coach built?

The Diamond Jubilee State Coach. Picture: ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty ImagesThe Diamond Jubilee State Coach. Picture: ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images
The Diamond Jubilee State Coach. Picture: ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images

The carriage was built and designed by William James Frecklington, an Australian coach maker. He designed the Elizabeth II's Australian State Coach, which was gifted to the monarch in 1988.

The Diamond Jubilee Coach was build to mark the Queen's 80th birthday. However due to delays it took eight years to complete - having originally been due in 2006.

It was finished in 2010 but due to funding issues it did not arrive in London until March 2014. The coach was purchased by the Royal Collection Trust for an undisclosed fee, paid by a private donation.

W.J. Frecklington built the carriage as a private initiative but did recieve some funding from the Australian government. The Diamond Jubilee Coach is now part of the Royal Collection. It was first used for the State Opening of Parliament on 14 June 2014.

What features does the coach have?

The carriage has shock absorbers, heating and air conditioning, which makes it more of a comfortable ride than the Gold State Coach. The late Queen rode both ways in the Gold State Coach for her 1953 coronation, famously describing the bumpy experience in the carriage, which is suspended on leather straps, as “horrible”.

What is the Diamond Jubilee Coach made of?

Frecklington aimed to incorporate Britain's history in the coach and as a result it features materials from historic buildings, ships and other artifacts. Design Week reports that it includes material from Caernarfon Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Durham Cathedral, The Mary Rose (Henry VIII’s flagship), 10 Downing Street, and the Antarctic bases of Captain Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton.

It also features a fragment from the Stone of Destiny. There is also a lead musket ball from the Battle of Waterloo and a piece of metal from the casting of the Victoria Cross.

How heavy is it?

The Diamond Jubilee Coach weighs 2.75 tons and is 18 ft long (5.5 m) and 11 ft high (3.4 m). It is drawn by six horses.

When is the coronation?

It will take place at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, 6 May. The ceremony will begin at 11am and will last until 1pm, followed by the coronation procession with the Gold State Coach.

The King and Queen Consort will depart from Buckingham Palace in the Diamond Jubilee Coach at 10.20am.

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