• Thursday, June 30, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

History on wheels: Queen’s iconic Gold State Coach to appear at Platinum Jubilee pageant

The Gold State Coach was commissioned in 1760 for King George III’s coronation and wedding day.

A general view of the Gold State Coach, at the Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace on May 6, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski – Pool / Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

THE 260-year-old Gold State Coach will lead a procession in London on Sunday (5) for the first time in two decades as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, according to a report. 

It carried a young Queen Elizabeth II from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey on her coronation day in 1953.

Adorned with ornate sculptures of cherubs and tritons and featuring panel paintings, the Gold State Coach is equally detailed and upholstered with velvet and satin, the CNN reported.

Due to health issues, the Queen will not be on board. But archival footage of her waving from the carriage on the day she was crowned will be projected onto its windows.

Built over the course of two years and completed in 1762, the Gold State Coach is the third oldest surviving coach in the UK. Four restorations over the centuries have left at least seven layers of gilding and retouching on its body, the CNN report said.

Designed by Sir William Chambers, the architectural adviser to King George III, and built by coachmaker Samuel Butler, the vehicle is around 23 feet in length,12 tall and made of gilded wood.

The coach, which pays tribute to the history of Britain, weighs over four tonnes, and is only ever drawn by eight horses at a walking pace.

A massive triton figure is sculpted onto each wheel as a show of imperial power, according to The Royal Collection Trust.

Its body is adorned with palm trees and lion heads alongside other motifs celebrating British naval victories. And one of its front panels features the figure of the helmeted warrior Britannia.

“Everywhere you look, in the golden sculptures and painted panels, in the uniforms of the postillions, grooms, footmen, attendants and mounted guards, there is rich tradition and history,” Adrian Evans, the Jubilee’s pageant master, was quoted as saying of the coach’s design on the Royal Family’s website.

The famous carriage made its first outing for the state opening of Parliament in 1762 under George III and then was used at coronations and other major royal ceremonies until Prince Albert’s death in 1861. King Edward VII revived its use at his coronation in 1902.

The Queen appeared in it twice — for her Silver Jubilee in 1977 and the Golden Jubilee of 2002. The coach is normally on public display at the Royal Mews.

The Platinum Jubilee pageant will mark the finale of the four-day weekend honouring the Queen.

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