PRINCE PHILIP’S FUNERAL LAND ROVER HEARSE

PRINCE PHILIP’S FUNERAL LAND ROVER HEARSE

Prince Philip funeral: Land Rover hearse custom-built to Duke’s orders in military green paint.

The modified Land Rover hearse that will carry the Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin at his funeral on Saturday has been unveiled for the first time.

The Land Rover Defender TD5 130 chassis cab vehicle was repainted in military green at Prince Philip’s request and features an open top rear and special “stops” to secure the coffin in place.

In a further nod to the Duke of Edinburgh’s green credentials, the modified Land Rover Defender 130 Gun Bus he had a hand in designing is expected to be a hybrid.

The utilitarian vehicle was a project Philip spent 16 years working on, starting the venture in collaboration with Land Rover in 2003. He made the final adjustments in 2019, the year he turned 98.

Featuring heavy duty wheels and an angular structure, the polished vehicle stands as a showcase for the Duke’s practical nature and his passion for functional design and engineering.

Prince Philip requested that the original Belize Green bodywork be switched to a Dark Bronze Green, a colour used for many military Land Rovers. The bespoke colour appears to symbolise the Duke’s special associations with all the Armed Forces as well as his time serving in WWII.

The Duke also designed the open-top rear section where his coffin will rest, made to his exact specifications, including the rubber grips on silver metal pins known as the “stops” or “stoppers” which lock the coffin in place.

Other details on the vehicle include matching green hubs, a black front grille, a single cab and no registration plates.

Land Rover has maintained the vehicle since it was built and prepared it for the funeral alongside the Royal Household.

Thierry Bollore, chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover, said: “We are deeply privileged to have enjoyed a very long and happy association with the Duke of Edinburgh over many decades,” he said

“We are also honoured that the Land Rover which the duke designed will be used at the funeral on Saturday.

“The duke was a tremendous champion for design, engineering and technology.

“During his visits to our sites he engaged with hundreds of employees and demonstrated his impressive knowledge and deep interest in vehicle design, engineering and manufacturing.

“The duke was a truly remarkable man and will be greatly missed.”

The original funeral plans would have involved the modified Land Rover transporting the Duke’s coffin 22 miles from Wellington Arch in central London to Windsor.

However, plans for military parades to be held in honour of Prince Philip had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, the vehicle will carry the Duke in a slow procession from the state entrance of Windsor Castle through the grounds to the west steps of St George’s Chapel, followed by the Prince of Wales and other members of the royal family on foot.

It will be flanked by pall bearers reflecting the Duke’s special relationships with the military the Royal Marines, Regiments, Corps and Air Stations.

According to Palace officials, the Duke’s interest in design sparked his desire to make the Land Rover and include it in his funeral plans, which are codenamed Operation Forth Bridge.

Two Land Rovers were made for “belt and braces” in case a backup was needed.