For sale: One's very best Daimler
The Queen's personal motor, modified to cater for her handbag and corgis, is on the market
Thursday 18 March 2010
For sale: Top-of-the range Daimler, only 14,000 miles on the clock – most of them around one's Windsor Great Park and London house at the end of the Mall. One very careful previous lady owner. Immaculate condition, apart from a few corgi hairs on the rear carpet.
As second-hand motors go, it is the most regal set of wheels on the market. A luxurious Jaguar used by the Queen as her personal car for driving herself around the grounds of the Windsor estate, and shuttling back and forth to Buckingham Palace, has been put up for sale.
The monarch's daily runabout, which is painted in an appropriately patriotic shade of British racing green and was used by her between 2001 and 2004, was modified by Jaguar to suit a set of specific royal needs. After all, not many Daimler Majestic V8s have a driver's arm rest specially adjusted to ensure it fits the Queen's Launer handbag, so it stays upright when travelling to the polo.
The car's "extras" include a special console of switches to control flashing strobe lamps and blue emergency convoy lights, and a secure telephone link to Downing Street and the Home Office, presumably for use in times of national emergency rather than to register a complaint about the latest set of roadworks on the M4 or a snarl-up on Windsor High Street.
The motor, which had a list price of £65,000 and was leased to the Royal Family's most senior driver, has been released from Jaguar's collection of royal vehicles after the Queen acquired another car from the company and it was deemed surplus to Buckingham Palace's requirements.
Peter Ratcliffe, an Ascot resident and specialist memorabilia dealer who bought the car from Jaguar and is now offering it on the open market via a website, hmthequeensdaimler.com, told The Independent: "It's a truly unique vehicle. There is nothing else out there, or ever going to be out there, that you can buy and say this was the personal car of the Queen of England, specially built for her.
"She was very clear about her requirements. She had an extra switch installed on each of the rear doors to control the windows on the opposite side. Apparently she doesn't like to have the wind blowing directly into her face.
"When she was accompanied by a royal protection officer in the passenger seat she was worried that she would have nowhere to put her handbag. Jaguar took the normal armrest and added a sliding tray so she could place her handbag on top and push back the tray to hold it in place while the car was moving.
"It is a beautiful car and she was fond of using it to get around Windsor or into London. She likes driving. I even saw her in the car herself once driving along the M25 with her escort."
Royal sources confirmed that the Daimler was the Queen's personal car. But were there any doubt as to its provenance, a cursory inspection of the footwell of the rear seats offers further proof of its previous ownership. Tell-tale dog hairs belonging to a short-haired breed such as a corgi can still be seen embedded in the plush lambskin rugs. Jaguar even provided special covers for the magazine holders in the doors to prevent the dogs sliding off the calfskin seats into them.
The monarch is known to be a keen driver following her time as a driver and mechanic in the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service during the Second World War. Such was her prowess behind the wheel that she rose to the rank of junior commander.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the latest departure from its car pool, which still includes eight state limousines (two Bentleys, three Rolls-Royces and three Daimlers), several Volkswagen people carriers and a London taxi fuelled by LPG (liquefied petroleum gas). And what price for the ownership of a royal gas guzzler? Mr Ratcliffe will not be drawn other than to point out that he recently sold the Queen's previous S-plate Daimler for a "substantial sum" to a Japanese collector.
Purchase does not include a hotline to No 10. The secure phone equipment was removed prior to sale.
The car can also be seen at classiccarsforsale.co.uk
The Queen's Flight The Royal Household uses two BAe 146 jets operated by the RAF to fly around the country. With more than 700 sq ft of cabin space, the aircraft has room for a royal suite to allow the Queen to sleep or change clothes. There is also a royal helicopter based in Hampshire.
The Royal Train Comprising up to eight purpose-built carriages, the train is used when senior royals need to travel overnight or when bad weather rules out flying. Alongside a fully equipped office, the Queen's carriage has a bedroom, bathroom and sitting room. The Duke of Edinburgh's also has a kitchen.
Carriages, Land Rovers and that cab The monarch can choose from more than 100 carriages, including the four-ton Gold State Coach used for coronations. In Balmoral, the Queen uses a Land Rover Discovery, while the Duke of Edinburgh uses a black London taxi to attend engagements in the capital.
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