One can only imagine the sleepless nights that heads of security have before such major public events as the recent royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – especially where open topped vehicles are used, such as the Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero that was used to transport Prince Harry and his bride to the evening reception at Frogmore House on Saturday 19 May.
Generally though, being Britain and hosting rainy or cold British weather, the protectors of very important people can rest a little easier with their subjects safely behind bulletproof glass and reinforced steel. Indeed, the plethora of armoured Range Rovers that could be seen preceding the wedding day busily carrying their subjects is testament to the protection that is always deemed necessary these days.
Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations is responsible for the £400k plus 340PS 3-litre V6 supercharched Range Rover Sentinel; a class leading luxury vehicle that has been designed to withstand extreme attack. Land Rover’s website goes as far as describing the 4×4 as a mobile fortress. It can even protect its occupants against TNT and grenade explosion and the bodywork is capable of withstanding high velocity 7.62mm rounds that are designed specifically to pierce armour.
It also has run flat tyres, an anti-tamper exhaust and a self-healing fuel tank to make sure there’s no lingering in the face of danger. A back up power supply keeps all the interior high tech running smoothly – including the TVs should the occupants be unphased by the commotion outside.
On the day of the royal Wedding itself, while some folk on Twitter may have suspected Prince Harry had booked himself an Uber XL to arrive at the wedding, the Prince’s royal wedding car was in fact a Mercedes Benz V-Class – a far less ostentatious wedding approach than when the two Princes arrived for the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011 in a Bentley State Limousine.
One would most certainly not expect Meghan Markle’s royal wedding car to be quite as bland (sorry Mercedes), but then she was not planning on walking the last few minutes as the two Princes had done. Her arrival was in something far more spectacular and fitting – the Queen’s very own state Rolls Royce Phantom IV. The Queen is certainly not short of a few cars to offer, as last year it was reported that her classy fleet of Bentleys, Jaguars and Rolls might well be worth upwards of £10 million.
This 5.7-litre 8-cylinder Rolls Royce Phantom carries much sentimental value. It is the first Rolls Royce that Her Majesty and Prince Philip ever owned; it was given to the Queen while she was still a princess in fact. This Phantom IV would be special even if we were to forget who actually owns the car, as only 18 of these classics were built between 1950-56, each going to a person that Rolls Royce deemed worthy and sporting a hand-built body courtesy of HJ Mulliner.
Doria Ragland, the mother of the bride, arrived in a chauffeur driven Bentley Mulsanne Speed. No slouch when it comes to being an impressive royal wedding car itself, the Mulsanne is a wonderfully luxurious 6.8-litre 522bhp V8 cruiser with an asking price of around £252,000 (minus extras).
The Queen and Prince Philip arrived in a Bentley State Limousine, a hand-built vehicle that was presented to the Queen and Prince Philip in celebration of the Golden Jubilee in 2002. Another gas-guzzler, the Bentley is based on the Arnage R and has a 6.75-litre V8 under its bonnet. As protection and safety goes, this car even has its own oxygen supply that can be pumped into the cabin should the cabin need to be sealed in the event of an emergency. While it may not have the looks of the Phantom, it does beat that fine car for exclusiveness, being one of only two built.
Backing up the royal parties over the royal wedding weekend as ever, was a discreet, but not out of place, Vogue Range Rover or two housing various reliable members of the secret service, police and armed royal guards respectively.
With such powerful fuel hungry cars on display, it does seem fitting that the E-Type Concept Zero was the royal wedding car of choice to take the newly married couple to the evening reception – offsetting some of those big engined royal cars’ carbon emissions no doubt.
Images: motor1.com, carmagazine.co.uk, topgear.com, drive.com.au