Bespoke Land Rover to carry Prince Philip's coffin for burial

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LONDON (AFP) - A bespoke Land Rover hearse that will carry Queen Elizabeth II's husband Prince Philip to his final resting place was unveiled on Thursday (April 15).

The Duke of Edinburgh died last Friday at the age of 99 and will be buried on Saturday at Windsor Castle, west of London.

He had always requested a no-fuss funeral but only 30 mourners will be present at the service because of coronavirus restrictions, which have forced a hasty revision of arrangements.

Only his wife of 73 years, and mostly close family will attend. The ceremony will be broadcast live on television and the public has been asked to stay away because of the pandemic.

One aspect of the prince's funeral that will go according to plan will be the inclusion of a Land Rover designed to Philip's specifications to drive his coffin to St George's Chapel in the sprawling castle grounds.

The vehicle, painted a specific shade of green favoured by the military and Prince Philip, will have a central role in the funeral as it will be followed on foot by members of the royal family in procession.

The queen will follow behind Philip's hearse in procession to the chapel in a Bentley.

The modified Land Rover Defender TD5 has been fitted with an open-top rear section where the prince's coffin will rest.

Even the metal pins that prevent the casket from moving were to his exact specifications.

Long collaboration

Philip, who served in the British navy during World War II, had close links with the armed forces throughout his life and was known for his love of the outdoors.

Manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover, which makes the rugged off-road vehicles that are popular with the military, began collaborating with Philip as far back as 2003.

The prince, who took a keen interest in British industry, engineering and design, continued to make changes over the intervening 18 years.

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Thierry Bollore, Jaguar Land Rover's chief executive, said Philip had an "impressive knowledge and deep interest in vehicle design, engineering and manufacturing".

"We are deeply privileged to have enjoyed a very long and happy association with the Duke of Edinburgh over many decades," he added.

The duke was a fan of Land Rovers throughout his life and granted a Royal Warrant to the manufacturer of the vehicles over 40 years ago.

In 2019, the duke, then aged 97, was driving a Land Rover Freelander when he was involved in a car crash near the Queen's Sandringham estate in eastern England.

He had to be rescued from the vehicle, which had flipped over. One of two women in the other car broke her wrist but a baby passenger was unharmed.

Buckingham Palace later said the duke would stop driving on public roads and had voluntarily given up his licence.

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