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Prince Philip helped design modified Land Rover which will carry his coffin

Prince Philip’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 the Duke of Edinburgh – 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.

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 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.



The Duke of Edinburgh looks at a Black 1960s ceremonial Land Rover Series 2A Escort Rover formally owned by The Queen Mother

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.

He also designed the open top rear section where his coffin will rest, made to his 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.

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.


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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.”

The duke used Land Rovers throughout his adult life and granted his Royal Warrant to Land Rover over 40 years ago.

He visited Jaguar Land Rover’s manufacturing facilities on numerous occasions over the decades and accompanied the Queen when she opened Jaguar Land Rover’s new Engine Manufacturing Centre in Wolverhampton in 2014.

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.

It will be flanked by pall bearers reflecting the duke’s special relationships with the military, the Royal Marines, Regiments, Corps and Air Stations.

Palace officials have told how the duke’s interest in design sparked his desire to make the Land Rover and include it in his funeral plans, codenamed Operation Forth Bridge.



The Jaguar Land Rover that will be used to transport the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh at his funeral

Two Land Rovers were made for “belt and braces” in case a backup was needed.

But before the pandemic, it was planned the vehicle would transport the duke’s coffin from Wellington Arch in central London to Windsor, and travel up the Long Walk, with members of the royal family joining the procession part way and walking through Windsor town centre to the castle.

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.”

A senior Palace official added: “The Duke of Edinburgh had a hand many years ago in the design of these vehicles.”

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.”

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