By SM .11 Apr, 2021
LONDON: The Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin will be transported in a ceremonial procession to his funeral on a Land Rover he helped to design.
It is a fitting tribute to Philip – the nation’s longest consort – who was known for his practical skills and his enduring interest in design and engineering.
The purpose-built Land Rover was specially modified to carry a coffin – in a project that the duke helped with many years ago.
Philip takes the wheel of a Land Rover to drive the Queen around her inspection of the jumps in the European Horse Trials
In 2016, Foley Specialist Vehicles said it delivered a totally rebuilt Gun Bus to Philip for use on his estates.
It was made to his specifications in traditional deep bronze green, and built onto a galvanised chassis and hand-built rear body.
A bearer party from the Grenadier Guards will place the coffin on the Land Rover at the state entrance of the castle, before the vehicle begins the eight-minute journey – at walking pace – to the west steps of the chapel.
It will be flanked by pall bearers reflecting the duke’s special relationships with the military – the Royal Marines, Regiments, Corps and Air Stations.
Immediately behind the Land Rover, the Prince of Wales and other members of the royal family, likely to be the duke’s other children and some of his grandchildren, will proceed on foot.
The Land Rover’s poignant role in the funeral proceedings always formed part of Operation Forth Bridge – the codename given to the plans following Philip’s death.
The Queen and Philip in an open Land Rover at a children’s rally in Royal Park, Melbourne
All public elements of the funeral have been removed – including large-scale processions through London and Windsor – so as not to draw crowds during the coronavirus crisis.
A Palace spokesman said: “The duke had a great interest in design so that is where the involvement of the Land Rover comes from.
“The Land Rover was very much part of the original plans as approved by the duke.”
The Duke of Edinburgh perches on the roof of a Land Rover while the Queen watches competitors during the Horse Trials at Badminton
The official added that there were two Land Rovers for “belt and braces”.
Following the duke’s death at the age of 99 on Friday, Jaguar Land Rover paid tribute, highlighting Philip’s “significant contribution to UK manufacturing, engineering and design”.
The firm said on Twitter: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
“Our thoughts are with Her Majesty The Queen & Royal Family. The Duke devoted his life to public service & made a significant contribution to UK manufacturing, engineering & design.”
In 2019, the duke, then 97, was driving a Land Rover Freelander when he was involved in a serious car crash involving a mother and a baby.
The car Philip was driving was hit by another vehicle when he pulled out of a driveway on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk on to a busy A road, after being dazzled by the low sun.
The duke’s car flipped over and he was trapped, and had to be rescued through the sunroof by a passing motorist. He was miraculously unscathed.