The President of France, François Hollande, has offered the Queen the use of a bulletproof Renault Vel Satis car after it was found the original car she was going to travel to the D-day landing commemorations in would not be high enough to fit one of her hats.
Despite months of planning for the Queen’s visit, French organisers have had to rethink the Queen’s vehicle after fears that her hat might get squashed by the low roof of the Citroen DS5 – the car usually used by the President.
Instead, the Queen and President Hollande will now take the roomier Vel Satis to the commemoration event for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
At one point, a people carrier was offered to ensure the Queen’s hat stayed uncrumpled, but this was quickly vetoed as it was felt that this was not royal enough for a British monarch to travel in.
The Del Satis is not seen by the French as the most glamorous car.
Despite its classical exterior and roomy interior, the Del Satis was largely panned on its release in 2002 and proved to be a commercial failure for Renault.
In 2009, the car was halted after only seven years in production.
For Hollande the choice of the car is part of his plan to present himself as a president of the people and show he is different from his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, who many thought was too flashy.
The French are putting a lot of effort for the Queen’s visit and have a number of events planned to celebrate her crossing the Channel.
According to reports, the Queen will be greeted off the Eurostar with a bouquet of roses as well as a photo album with pictures from her previous visits to France.
It is also believed that the famous flower market on one of Paris’ natural island Île de la Cité is to be renamed Queen Elizbeth II market for the day.
The D-Day commemoration day will take place at various locations along the Normandy Coast, with the main international event taking place on Sword Beach the furthest east of the beaches targeted during the D-Day landings.
Alongside the Queen and Hollande, other world politicians will be in attendance, including US President Barack Obama and Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Additional Reporting AP