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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Royal Wedding Wednesday~ A Lovely Carriage Makes for a Lovely Marriage

Welcome to the second installment of the Royal Wedding Wednesday (R.W.W) mini series. Can I first say that I was absolutely as excited as a two year old with an unattended cookie jar to learn that so many of you are just as enthusiastic as I am? Yet another reason I adore blogging~ finding other kindred spirits who also believe in fairy tales.


You may have heard that Catherine is breaking with centuries of tradition and will be arriving in a car versus a horse drawn carriage. My first thought was “Why Kate?” My second thought was:

After a moment I realized that there were two key words~ “Kate” and “Arrive”. There is a good chance that it will only be Catherine arriving by car. Other members of the royal wedding party may arrive to the church by carriage, and make no mistake, the bride and groom will be leaving the church in a carriage. William is rather used to it.

So why a car?  A few thoughts (massive speculation) that are circulating:

It is safer.

She’s already been waiting 8 years and a car is quicker.

Prince William and Kate would like their marriage to not be compared to that of his mum and dad.

I imagine that William is already providing a glimpse of how things will be done when he is king. He plans to modernize the royal family and do away with stodgy traditions. England, like the United States, is in the midst of a financial depression. Rather than flaunt excess wealth, this decision is in keeping with his promise to make this “The People’s Wedding”.  After all, the U.K. is footing the wedding bill in much the same manner that the U.S. funds any presidential inaugural festivities. Kate herself is one smart cookie. She selected past season, off the rack, clothing already hanging in her closet for her engagement photos. I  imagine she has considered that it is fitting she arrives, as a commoner, to her wedding by car. But let’s face it, it won’t be just be any car. In the royal garage are:

Several Jaguars



The Queen’s Golden Jubilee 2002 Bentley.

A few Rolls Royce’s, including the Phantom IV.


I imagine it will be this last car that Catherine will arrive in. It has been used for similar occasions such as when Sophie Rhys~Jones married Prince Edward in 1999.

Cars can be quite lovely and elegant. Princess Grace not only arrived to her wedding in a car, but also left the church in a Rolls Royce. Her wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco was also one to remember. 


Carriages and coaches are very expensive to maintain. (A coach is generally closed and the team of horses are controlled by a coachmen and the back of the coach is attended to by footmen. A carriage is open and generally has but one driver.)  Besides the restoration work that many of the antique carriages require, the Queen’s horses, Windsor Greys, are quite costly to keep.

File:Trooping the Colour Queen carriage 16th June 2007.jpg

Still it would be lovely to see H.M. (Her Majesty) Queen Elizabeth arriving in one of her favorite carriages or coaches.

When entertaining heads of state and for the opening of Parliament, the Queen often selects the Australian State Coach. It was presented by the Australian people on the occasion of the Australian bicentennial in 1988. It was built by W. J.  Frecklinton, who also built the Queen’s Britannia coach. The coach is quite modern in that it features heating, electric windows, and hydraulic stabilizers. 

A newer, similar coach is the Britannia coach. The black and gold, jewel encrusted coach was a gift from Jim Frecklinton (who built the Australian State Coach) and the Australian people, to the Queen on the occasion of her 80th birthday. The door handles feature 130 sapphires and 24 diamonds. It is also a traveling time capsule of sorts as it contains material from Britain’s historic buildings, ships and other artifacts that were incorporated into its construction.

File:Coach Britannia.jpg

I myself would like to see the Queen arrive in the Gold State Coach. It was built in 1762 by the London workshop of Samuel Butler for the coronation of George IV. The coach has been used in the coronation ceremony of every subsequent British monarch, some jubilee’s and a few royal weddings. 

There are three cherubs on the roof (which represent England, Ireland and Scotland) and  four tritons (Greek God) at each corner to represent Britain’s imperial power.

The panels and doors of the coach features artwork painted by Giovanni Cipriani.

But given that the gilded coach weighs four tons, is hard to maneuver, its advanced age and of course Prince William’s desire to downplay the Royal excess I imagine the coach will remain at the Royal Mews (Buckingham Palace’s stables).  Her Majesty, the Queen, will probably select a subdued, open carriage such as the Ascot Landau Carriage.

No matter how ill fated the marriage of his parents was, I imagine that William might select the same carriage his parents rode in 30 years ago, as the perfect vehicle in which to ride off with his new bride and the hope that they will live, “Happily Ever After”.

The only coach or carriage I will probably ever enjoy is the HappyLand Royal Wedding Set. It is completely adorable, costs £15, and is of course, sold out.

How about you~coach, carriage or car?



Michele's Treasures, Teacups, and Tumbling Rose Cottage said...

LOVE this post! It was fun and educational. Thank you! *sigh* The thought of riding in a fancy carriage--every girl's dream at one point or another. A wedding is such a happy occasion. I remember watching Di's and Charles' wedding and hope to watch this one too. Nothing better than a fancy wedding. ; )

Vicki said...

Car. The cars are beautiful, they are safer, easier to secure, and, while I appreciate tradition, there's something to be said for some modern advancement in the monarchy!

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

This is an AWESOME post Laura!!!! I loveeeeeeeeeee carriages!! In fact, Santa brought one to Brookie for Christmas!! A Disney Princess one!!! We LOVE it! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

Liz said...

Oh I love this post! You did so much research. I love Kate. I am just like everyone in England. I am hoping beyond hope that they are happy. They really seem to be so considerate of their country and the state of the economy.

When we got married we drove my Boxter. Now I have my little Cooper, which I would totally use in a wedding! But I have to say ...The carriage is all about fairytale. Classic! See you tomorrow?

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Laura, I love this post, and I can't wait for the wedding! :-)

I adored all of those photos of the coaches. Aren't they just magnficent, and oh, how I love the Queen! I was thinking that she is sort of like "our" queen, too, since she has reigned throughout our lives, and in my opinion, she has never stepped a foot out of line. Love her!

Looking at the engagement pictures of Kate and Wills versus Charles and Di, I can see a marked difference in the body language. It might be because Prince Charles is so proper, and William is much younger, but look how William is leaning into Kate. He clearly adores her, and I think that will bode well for the success of their marriage. She also seems to love him. So I'm happy for both of them. I have a feeling his mother would be very, very happy!

I was thinking about the decision to take a car to the wedding, and I wonder if William and Kate decided to opt for a car, not only for cost sake and "the people's" sake, but for safety's sake. Prince Charles and Camilla were attacked in the Queen's Rolls Royce by student protesters recently which was horrifying, and it could well be that the security risk in using the coaches right now might be high. I hate to think of things like that, but it could have factored into their decision as well.

Another reason could be the fact that Diana's dress was crushed due the smallness of the carriage in which she arrived. The dressmakers were shocked when they saw how wrinkled it was from being "smished" in there, but it was still breathtaking. But the carriage was awfully small for a large poofy wedding dress. Something tells me that Kate's will be less poofy, but one never knows.

However they arrive, I can't wait to see the dress. I wonder what it will look like. I'm willing to wager it won't be strapless. I hate that current trend. I think brides should look romantic. Bunny Williams said in an interview I heard that she hated it, too. I thought it might just be me since every wedding I've been to of late is a strapless one. It just seems so inappropriate in church. I'm old fashioned that way. LOL!


Sheila :-)

jeanette from everton terrace said...

Wow, I absolutely had no idea about all of these things and am happy just to know the difference now between carriage and coach. They are remarkable. I like the idea of the one made from different buildings in England and so forth. I don't even remember what I went to the church in but I do remember we left the church in my Dad's jag, sadly we have to give it back after the reception!

Teresa said...

Can't believe I started following your Blog and the first post is about Fairytales, Princesses and Carriages...
I think Kate was perfect in choosing the car - that way, we - Royal Fans - will manage to drool over her dress, hair, tiara, veil in her way to the Church. Poor Lady Diana was this lovely pin head among a white sea of frocks and silks LOL. Picturewise - great choice.
Leaving a car - any of those cars - is so more elegant and "flowing" than entering and leaving a carriage: you are mostly pushed to enter, then everyone proceeds putting all those silks and frocks inside with you - pull here push there and when leaving the proccess happens again - let's push here pull there to compose what was running when entering. Fashionwise - perfect choice.
And you do arrive a Cinderella and leave a Princess. Fairytale - PERFECT choice.
Looking forward to know your blog better.

Craftymoose Crafts said...

I repeat....I am so loving these posts on Wednesday!

I actually had a friend who arrived at the church in a horse drawn carriage-in Massachusetts, not England. Very romantic.

As for me, I waited a long time to find my true love and get married--so we had exactly what we wanted--A white limo! Maybe cliche, but we loved it!

Sherry said...

Oh, very interesting. I don't know if I have ever seen the cherub coach. That is so extravagant. You spoke of Princess Grace, my husband and I booked a cruise around the Hawaiian Islands for our honeymoon. When we got there and boarded our cruise we were surprised to learn that it was the same ship that took Princess Grace across the Atlantic to Monaco for her wedding. They had a room on the ship devoted to her. It was 20 years ago and this ship was getting old, a lot of Carnival cruise people were very disappointed how old the ship was and it wasn't all modern and fancy, but my husband and I loved the history in it. Fun facts Laura!

Mom in High Heels said...

Fantastic post! Thanks for sharing all the lovely photos and all the information on the various cars, carriages and coaches (I was so excited that I actually knew the difference between a coach and carriage-too many Regency romances, perhaps?). If I were choosing a car to arrive in it would absolutely be the Rolls. That's a royal car. I'm hoping they leave in the same carriage as Charles and Diana because it is so gorgeous.
BTW, I find the differences in the engagement photos very telling. Charles is very straight and proper and barely touching Diana and Diana is practically trying to pull him towards her. Will and Kate are very wrapped up in each other.
Wednesday could become my new favorite bloggy day of the week!

heartfelt living said...

I'm so old fashioned in that I just love the carriage but when I first heard that Kate would be arriving in a thoughts were if it were my daugher (who is 22) she would do the same.
I think it is a way of showing that they would like to "bring some modern ideas" into the Royal Family and the fact that they are leaving in a carriage shows that they will be keeping tradition alive and well.
God Bless them both.

Linda Chapman said...

Thank you!!! I will keep up with the wedding through YOUR blog! Forget all other news and resources! YOURS will be the BEST!! I love it!

Texas Tales said...

Amazing post - and great photos you found! It's so interesting to see how others live across the pond. My husband and I were at the Highland Games in Braemar in Scotland, August 2009. The queen arrived and it was quite the production! I'll always remember she wore this bright yellow canary hat.

Thanks for sharing all your finds!

Lorrie said...

A post both lovely and informative. Just wonderful! Coach, carriage or ca, this is one wedding to watch!

Terri said...

What a lovely post! I know I will be checking in with you on Wednesdays!

Privet and Holly said...

Given the current
climate in the U.K.,
it probably would be
the royals to stay
under cover. Sad,
but true : ( I just
saw The King's Speech
recently and have to
say, that despite all
the royal trappings,
they live a rather simple
life inside the palace
walls....or they used
to, anyway. Fun post,
xx Suzanne

Mimi said...

I have watched--since I taped it 2 or 3 times the royal weddings special from the History or Learning channel, now I forget!!!I love it all, going to Europe this summer, hoped to go to the wedding---well sit on a sidewalk for days, but when date was selected, April I cannot do, so June it is!!!MONACO is a STOP for sure!!!!Cruising for 7 or 9 days(I forget) then touring around for 7 days!!
I like that she will arrive by car, I bet it is the same car as Sophie arrived in, by the way, I really like her!!!She has maintained her privacy for years!!!
I hope they ride in an open carriage, I was thinking it might be a closed one due to colder weather in April.
Love this post!!!

Mamma hamilton said...

Hi Laura, I just love your blog. I am an English Royalist and proud of it. I am so looking forward to the Royal Wedding and thoroughly enjoyed your post on royal wedding transport. One small correction however if you will forgive me. The Queen is referred to as Her Majesty (HM) and the royal prnces and princesses as Royal Highnesses. Technically when Kate is married she will become Princess William of Wales however I guess that Prince William will want to modernise and she will be referred to as HRH Princess Catherine of Wales. It is all sooo exciting!

TRay said...

Having had the opportunity to see the infamous gold coach at the Royal Mews, my forever and always vote is for the GOLD COACH. As a matter of fact, if I were the queen, I'd have those streets blocked off every single day, just so I could cruise around in it!! Yes, yes, yes--I would. I would probably then suffer the same fate as our beloved Marie Antoinette--not only for the traffic snarls, but for the sheer spectacle 24/7. P.S. We need that play set.

Deanna said...

A huge RWW greetings to you!
Will enjoy your spin on things as the weeks go by.

Royally yours,
d from homehaven

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

My thanks to Mamma Hamilton (my beloved mother, Nadine was a Hamilton) for pointing out my faux pas. The Queen should be addressed as Her Majesty and not Her Royal Highness.


French said...

I love the idea of her arrival in a car, as a commoner, and leaving in a carriage; it will all be such fun to see, I can't wait...and I can't belived the generosity of the Australian people for those coaches. I always think of the movie The Queen and the line "it's Ma'am as in Ham" which I think is shortened from Madame (=Ma'am) is it?

Shirley said...

There can never be a more exciting wedding than that of Princess Di..But, I'm so excited for Prince William..To answer your question I would select arriving in a horse drawn carriage..after often does one marry a Prince in real life?

Dawna said...

I agree with one other blogger who said that we will just keep up with all the royal happenings via your blog :) Very interesting :) I think my choice would be carriage... every little girls dream.

Karena said...


Such wonderful images of the Royal Lifestyle. Oh my ....we love to enjoy seeing the latest news always!!

Art by Karena

Mona Thompson Providence Ltd. said...

I'll be in the same carriage with you. I love this series. Thanks for bringing us all the details!

Miss Sandy said...

I would have to choose one of those glorious coaches! Loved all the interesting details of this post. said...


Does anything say romance like a horse drawn carriage? Although I would never turn down a ride in the Phantom IV! (Princess Grace -- my favorite!)

Your Friend,

Linda said...

This is lovely to read. Honestly, I haven't followed any of it, but still think it's beautiful and interesting.

One of my dear friends, left their wedding ceremony in an old time car. It was so pretty and charming. :)

The Boston Lady said...

Laura, I panicked earlier today when I realized it was Thursday and I had missed RWW. Thank God Save the Queen that it was still up and I could enjoy it fully a day late.

Since you asked... I think Kate should arrive in an enclosed car (I can lend her my Vibe, if she'd like) and then leave in an open vehicle or carriage. I would like to see them in a different carriage than the one Will's parents left in. Maybe a quick escape via motorbike, perhaps? No, too windblown and The People want to see the new couple so horse drawn carriage seems best to me.

Thanks for a fun post, this will give us "Royal Nuts" somewhere to go and indulge ourselves. Ann

jeanette from everton terrace said...

Laura, you're funny. Just popped over to say sounds great - I'm in!

'odd and old' Linda Dacey said...

blimey this brit in france is blown away by your knowledge of blighty! really enjoyed you post and the toy at the end is too cute...

Karen said...

Lovely Post Laura, I really enjoyed it and I look forward to more!Are those little figures like the weeble people toys or do they belong to the loving family dollhouse group? Serious, are these just in England? They are pretty darn cute and I would like to have some. Hope to see you soon!

Marydon said...

May I just come in my '67 Spitfire?

So enjoyed your write, Laura ... you are just beautiful in every way.

Have a grand time at the show & hope the weather is good for you, sweetie.

Hugs & be safe ~