Just Harry’ed: the Royal Wedding Cars
The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ticked all the boxes of a classic romantic comedy.
It had something for every viewer: for those after celebrity cameos, there were George Clooney and Idris Elba; for viewers who wanted some social commentary, there was the multi-racial cast and crew; and for car enthusiasts, there were the automobiles.
And what grand motorcars they were, as the royalty pulled out all the stops to make for a Instagram-perfect celebration.
The bride arrived at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in a stately classic (no, not the Givenchy dress): a 1950 Rolls Royce Phantom IV.
This Phantom IV is reportedly the first to be built, and had been used by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip for more than six decades. Only 18 of these cars were built, and 16 are still known to exist.
The Phantom IV is fit for royalty, with its massive 5766-mm length and 3683-mm wheelbase, long enough to swallow the entire length of a Honda Brio.
Prince Philip reportedly drove a pre-production development model, and liked the performance enough to order one, the first Rolls Royce for the royal garage.
Originally painted deep green with a red stripe, the car was redone in sovereign’s colors of royal claret and black.
The seven-seat automobile was developed from a Bentley experimental model powered by a 6.3-liter eight-cylinder engine, giving it enough power to be nicknamed the Scalded Cat.
After the wedding rites and lunchtime reception, all eyes were on the classic Jaguar driven by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle from Windsor Castle to Frogmore House for the evening celebrations.
Though the classic convertible’s looks were, for all intents, kept original, this was a version updated to electric drive, dubbed as the E-type Concept Zero.
The 1968 Jaguar E-type is reputed to be the most beautiful car of the 20th century, with Enzo Ferrari himself enamored with its looks. Indeed, the ice-blue roadster cut a gorgeous figure worthy of the new bride and groom.
Pop open the hood of Harry and Meghan’s car, and you won’t see a classic straight six. Instead, there is an all-electric system powered by lithium-ion batteries.
The powertrain is designed to fit into the space of the original petrol engine. Weight savings is 80 kg, and the acceleration even drops by one second, with the 0-100 kph sprint taking 5.5 seconds—quite sprightly for a 50-year old car.
The E-type Concept Zero is the result of a special program run by Jaguar that converts classic vehicles to run on pure electric power.
This is no haphazard conversion, though. Jaguar promises that the engineering and craftsmanship preserves the looks, handling, and performance characteristics of the original cars, but now with zero emissions from the car itself.
The XK 330-4 program can be applied to any XK-powered classic Jaguar from 1948 to 1992. The conversion reportedly costs 350,000 pounds, in addition to the cost of the original car.
This particular Concept Zero was built as a left-hand drive model. The custom license plate reflected the wedding date.
Brother-in-law Prince William recently took delivery of a new Land Rover Discovery. The seven-seat SUV became perfect for his growing brood, after Kate Middleton gave birth to their third child.
Jaguar-Land Rover is the only automotive manufacturer to hold all three Royal Warrants. The company can thus supply Her Majesty the Queen (Elizabeth II), His Royal Highness the duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip) and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales (Prince Charles).
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip arrived in their grand chariot, the Bentley State Limousine. The car was specially manufactured on the occasion of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002.
The Queen, known to have driven tanks during wartime, will appreciate the Bentley’s traditional engine, the 6 and 3/4 liter V8 engine. This has been tuned to produce 400 hp and 835 Nm, for a rated top speed of 210 kph.
For the Queen’s ease of ingress, the limousine’s coach doors open nearly 90 degrees. Perched on top of the Bentley is an illuminated crest with the Queen’s mascot, St. George slaying the dragon. But please don’t tell the Queen that Bentley is now owned by Volkswagen.
Before the wedding, the other British marque now run by a German company, MINI, built a one-off car for the couple. The MINI 3-door hatchback was decked out in Crystal White with silver-blue accent strips.
The hand-painted roof graphic depicts elements of the Union Jack and the Stars & Stripes, representing the royal couple. The car was donated to the couple’s chosen charity for public auction.