Bespoke Land Rover hearse designed by Prince Philip revealed ahead of funeral

Friday, 16th April 2021, 8:06 am
The Land Rover Defender that will be used to transport the coffin of Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh during the funeral procession is parked in Windsor Castle (Photo by STEVE PARSONS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The Duke of Edinburgh designed his own custom built Land Rover hearse in a project that spanned 16 years.

Prince Philip requested a repaint in military green and designed the open top rear and special “stops” to secure his coffin in place.

The modified Land Rover Defender TD5 130 chassis cab vehicle has been unveiled for the first time, two days before his final farewell in St George’s Chapel.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The final adjustments to the bespoke hearse were made in 2019, the year he turned 98.

A 16-year project

He first began the long-lasting venture to create his own bespoke hearse in collaboration with Land Rover in 2003, the year he turned 82.

The polished sturdy, utilitarian vehicle, with its heavy duty wheels and angular structure, stands as a showcase for the duke’s practical nature, and his passion for functional design and engineering.

The Defender was made at Land Rover’s factory in Solihull in 2003 and Philip oversaw the modifications throughout the intervening years.

The duke, who served with distinction in the Second World War and held special associations with all the Armed Forces, requested that the original Belize Green bodywork be switched to Dark Bronze Green, a colour used for many military Land Rovers.

He also designed the open top rear section where his coffin will rest, made to his exact specifications, including the rubber grips on silver metal pins known as the “stops” or “stoppers” which perform the crucial task of preventing the coffin from moving.

Details on the vehicle include matching green hubs, a black front grille, a single cab and no registration plates.

The vehicle will ferry Philip’s coffin on Saturday

Eighteen years after the duke began the Land Rover project, the vehicle will finally be used for its intended function on Saturday.

The vehicle will ferry Philip’s coffin in a slow procession from the state entrance of Windsor Castle through the grounds to the west steps of St George’s Chapel, followed by the Prince of Wales and other members of the royal family on foot.

Land Rover has maintained the vehicle since it was built and has prepared it for the funeral in collaboration with the Royal Household.

‘The duke was a truly remarkable man’

Thierry Bollore, Jaguar Land Rover’s chief executive hailed Philip’s “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 said

“We are also honoured that the Land Rover which the duke designed will be used at the funeral on Saturday.

“The duke was a tremendous champion for design, engineering and technology.

“During his visits to our sites he engaged with hundreds of employees and demonstrated his impressive knowledge and deep interest in vehicle design, engineering and manufacturing.

“The duke was a truly remarkable man and will be greatly missed.”

The duke used Land Rovers throughout his adult life and granted his Royal Warrant to Land Rover over 40 years ago.