The Royal family or namely the Queen, has just been gifted a £620,000 ($892,716) carriage from Australia whose new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, a Republican, wants a referendum on the monarchy. The state coach Britannia will be only the second carriage to join the Royal Family in the last 100 years. The carriage was commissioned by Mr. Rudd’s predecessor John Howard and has taken two years and more than 50 artisans to complete. Designed and built in Sydney by Jim Frecklington, the entire project took shape under the guidance and expertise of the Duke of Edinburgh, a renowned carriage driver himself. It contains a time capsule containing British history elements, including material from a Lancaster bomber, which flew with the 617 Squadron -the Dambusters. There is metal from a musket ball from the Battle of Waterloo to symbolize the Army and wood from the Victory, representing the Royal Navy. There is also wood from various cathedrals, including St Paul’s, Canterbury, Wells, and York, and segments from Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose, the Mayflower, the Queen Mary, the former Royal Yacht Britannia. Add to that a huge amount of gold (it has more gold than any other vehicle made in Britain for almost 200 years), crystal lamps, and diamond-studded handles, all making it another royal jewel. The carriage also boasts of some modern touches like electric windows, hydraulic independent suspension, and heating. The interior is done up 22 yards of the silk brocade, incorporating the four home countries’ heraldic representations – the rose, the flax, the thistle, and the leek.
The coach weighs 2.75 tons and is more than 20ft long and 11ft high. The carriage is due to be transported from the workshop to the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace in the next few weeks.