What was the inspiration behind the Land Rover designed by Prince Philip?

To commemorate his own funeral, Prince Philip designed a specially modified Land Rover to transport his coffin.

Land Rover cars have been an ever-present for the royal family – the Duke of Edinburgh used Land Rovers throughout his life and granted his royal warrant to Land Rover 40 years ago. Here’s all you need to know about the inspiration behind the Land Rover designed by Prince Philip.

Prince Philip’s Influence

The Duke of Edinburgh was known for his practical skills and his strong interest in design and engineering. This practicality trait had a big influence on the car’s modifications.

The vehicle itself, a Land Rover Defender TD5 130 chassis cab, is a polished sturdy, utilitarian vehicle, with heavy-duty wheels and angular structure, standing as a showcase for the Duke’s practical nature.

Prince Philip’s Land Rover was originally bought in 2003 at Land Rover’s Solihull factory, the year in which the Duke turned 82. Prince Philip oversaw a number of modifications to this custom Land Rover across 16 years, making his final adjustments to the model in 2019 when he was aged 98.

Duke of Edinburgh sits in a carriage during the Opening of Parliament, Queens royal procession 1965

Modifications

The Duke’s modifications were all inspired by his personal life experiences and personality.

He requested for the original Belize Green bodywork to be changed to Dark Bronze Green, a colour used for many military Land Rovers. This was to mark the time he served during the Second World War and the special associations that he had with all of the Armed Forces.

He also designed the open-top rear section where his coffin rested. Rubber grips on silver metal pins known as “stops” or “stoppers” were made to his exact specifications to make sure the coffin didn’t move when being transported. The vehicle also includes matching green hubs, a black front grille, a single cab and no registration plates.

Land Rover had maintained the vehicle since it was built in 2003, preparing it for Prince Philip’s funeral in full collaboration with the Royal Household.

The History of Land Rover and the Royal Family

Land Rover vehicles are big favourites of the Royal Family. Since launching in 1948, Land Rovers and Range Rovers have always been associated with Royal Family members often seen regularly driving them.

The relationship between Land Rover and the British royal family goes back almost to the company’s origins. In fact, the 100th vehicle built was presented to King George VI, the Queen’s father.

Prince Philip’s own long-term relationship with posher Land Rover products got underway in the 1970s. The Duke has owned, leased, or at least driven one of every generation of Range Rover.

Land Rover now holds three royal warrants from the Queen, the Duke and the Prince of Wales and their households – the only car company alongside Jaguar to hold so many.

image of the royal family's guards walking

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