The Royal Family has more cars than a large taxi firm. The Queen, for starters, has at least three Rolls-Royces, two Daimlers, and two Bentleys. Highlights include the 1950 Phantom IV, which has a 5.76-litre straight-eight engine. Her Majesty first used this vehicle - with Prince Philip - before becoming Queen, and it still takes the Royal couple to Ascot. This complements her 1978 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI, which was presented to the Queen by the Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders to mark her Silver Jubilee.
However, Her Majesty's most famous car is the Bentley that emerged in 2002 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee. This is nearly one-metre longer than the Arnage R on which it is based, and has a 6.75-litre V8 twin-turbocharged engine. It has also been armoured, can be air-sealed to protect its occupants from gas attack, and has puncture resistant tyres. The interior is also special. The rear seats have been upholstered with lambswool sateen cloth, and the remaining upholstery features light grey connolly hide. This is the car the Queen is likely to require most during 2012, her Diamond Jubilee year.
Prince Charles' most famous car is his Aston Martin DB6. This was a present from his mother on his twenty-first birthday, and remains prized. This dark blue convertible now burns biofuel from English wine in recognition of Prince Charles' environmental concerns. The DB6's most significant recent outing was during Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding celebrations. The future King drove his bride past the cheering crowd near Buckingham Palace, despite – apparently – having the handbrake on. Ooops!
Prince Charles also has an Audi A8, which is a luxury saloon rivalling the Jaguar XJ and BMW 7 Series. Audi, in fact, has supplied the British Royal Family with numerous vehicles. Prince William had an Audi S4 4.2-litre V8 Saloon before his wedding, and now drives an Audi S5 Sportback. Furthermore, Prince Harry has regularly been seen in a stylish Audi A3, and Kate Middleton has been pictured with one of these hatchbacks too.
But Kate Middleton has not always had prestigious vehicles. In fact, she drove a Volkswagen Golf during her time at university. This recently appeared on Channel 4's 'Four Rooms', where millionaire dealers compete to purchase items for resale from members of the public. The Golf failed to sell, but the owners were advised to view it as a long term investment. That makes sense, as the Golf's value should increase when Kate becomes Queen. Furthermore, by this time their 2001 Golf should be a classic and of more interest - irrespective of links to the monarchy. But could it make a decent taxi?
By Stephen Turvil
Mon, 28 May 2012