The marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton has been one of the most celebrated royal events in decades. The occasion was a great chance for Britain to show off its great motoring heritage. A mix of Jaguars, Rolls-Royces, and Bentleys provided most of the automotive transport.
For the first time since the wedding of the Queen’s cousin Princess Alexandra in 1963, there was not a horse-drawn coach used to bring the bride to the Abbey. Instead a Rolls-Royce Phantom VI specially made for Queen Elizabeth II in 1977 was used to take Kate to Westminster Abbey. This particular Rolls-Royce Phantom was given to the Queen in 1978 for her Silver Jubilee. The car is powered by an engine from the current Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and the majority of the body work was done by Mulliner Park Ward.
A senior royal aide said: “Catherine chose to go by car because she wanted a slightly lower-key arrival while she was still Miss Middleton at that point. The arrival was dignified and stately – she did not dash past the crowds or anything like that –it was not a royal procession in the traditional sense.”
The aide also said: “The journey back from the Abbey was full of all the pomp and splendour of a royal procession. The route was a traditional one taken for the State Opening of Parliament.”
The wedding was graced by other Royalty, Film Stars, Business People, family and friends of the couple. The political elite also received invitations and this allowed David Cameron to arrive in style as he pulled up to Westminster Abbey in a Jaguar XJ while Nick Clegg arrived in a BMW 7 series. David Beckham, Victoria Beckham, Rowan Atkinson and his wife arrive at the Wedding in Rolls-Royce Phantoms although the majority of guests actually travelled in a fleet of Volkswagen minibuses.
The queen’s two modern Bentleys that were custom-made with input from the queen were on hand to take the royal family to and from the Abbey. These Bentleys are 10 inches taller, and six inches wider than a standard Bentley Arnage, they are powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.75-litre V8 Engine, allowing them to produce 400 hp. The top speed of these cars is 130 mph.
About an hour after the wedding the newlyweds appeared on the Palace balcony, they kissed in front of the crowd as Charles and Princess Diana did in 1981. Their embrace was accompanied by a fly-past from William’s RAF colleagues comprising of a Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster from the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) followed by two Tornado GR4s from 41 (R) Squadron, RAF Coningsby and two Typhoons from 6 Squadron, RAF Leuchars flew over Admiralty Arch, along the Mall and over Buckingham Palace.
One of the last specials events of the wedding day was when Prince William drove his new bride out of Buckingham Palace in a 1969 DB6 Aston Martin Volante. This car was a present from Prince Charles for the 21st birthday of William. Prince Charles converted the 1969 DB6 to run 100% on bioethanol fuel distilled from surplus British wine as part of efforts to cut his carbon footprint.
The British car industry was one of the stars of the event and millions of people were delighted to see appearances from such marques as Jaguars, Rolls-Royces, and Bentleys.