The Queen and her cars
Queen Elizabeth II has never shied away from being behind the wheel.
The monarch, now 89, learned to drive as a Princess during World War Two when she served in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service – during which time she also fixed military vehicles – and is still spotted in the driver’s seat from time-to-time today.
She’s the only person in the UK that is allowed to drive without a licence and she’s also used to being driven, of course, and has enjoyed the ride in a variety of State cars during her time on the throne.
As she becomes the longest-reigning British monarch, we take a look at some of the Queen’s motors from the past 63 years – and they’re all British, of course.
Given that Her Majesty was involved with military vehicles as a Princess, it’s no surprise that she gained an affinity for the original Land Rover. First sold in 1948, it was conceived in the aftermath of World War Two, inspired by vehicles like the Willys Jeep.
The Queen has been closely linked with Land Rovers for decades and has owned many.
She ran a V8-engined Landie for 18 years and there’s a brilliant video on You Tube of her driving it – where we get to see that her driving style is confident and slick to say the least. Alas, with modern emissions regulations proving harder and harder for the original Land Rover to meet, it is set to end production soon.
When the Queen is looking for a bit more comfort, the Range Rover has always been at hand.
She’s used one for years, starting with the classic Rangie of the 1970s, and continues to do so today.
Another legendary car, the original Range Rover came about when Land Rover began to look at the possibilities of a bigger 4x4.
The first generation was so popular that it lasted a whopping 26 years, until 1996, before getting a serious facelift.
It’s been updated more regularly since then and the current version – now a luxury 4x4 far removed from the original – is the fourth generation.
The Range Rover is today one of the most complete cars out there, providing mind-boggling luxury with off-road capabilities that are still unrivalled.
And Her Majesty clearly agrees – she traded in her 2002 model for a tasty long wheelbase 2015 example recently for state review occasions: it’s a one off that she can stand in the back of and wave from.
For more day-to-day affairs Elizabeth II stills runs a Jaguar X-Type estate.
The car might not be one of Jaguar’s most memorable models, being as it was, based on a platform from then-owners Ford, it’s clearly done the job for the monarch.
In July 2015 she was spotted behind the wheel in what is one of the great stories from her motoring history.
On her way to church one Sunday morning, she encountered a family in her way in Windsor Great Park. Instead of waiting for them to move aside like good subjects should, she veered off the path and onto the neighbouring grass.
When Scarlett Vincent and Toby Core, who were walking son Teddy, realised the identity of the driver they were stunned, but they did get a wave from Her Majesty.
The Queen does, of course, have access to a fleet of State Cars, which are modified versions of some of the grandest models on the market.
The most frequently used today are two Bentley State Limousines.
They are powered by a twin-turbo 6.75 V8 from the Arnage R, meaning 130mph is possible. Used only for official engagements, the car is almost 3ft longer than a standard Arnage, as well as being 10in taller and nearly 3ins wider. It also boasts armoured glass and bodywork, while the cabin can be sealed in case of gas attack and it’s blast-resistant.
There are still a couple of classics on the fleet as well, including a 1950 Rolls Royce Phantom IV from 1950 and a Phantom VI from 1978, along with several Daimlers.