Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh spent 18 years overseeing the design and build of his custom-built Land Rover Defender TD5 130 hearse at Land Rover’s factory in Solihull.
On Saturday 17 April, the Royal Ceremonial Funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh took place at Windsor Castle. Although some elements of the funeral plans had to be modified due to the public health guidelines, the day still very much reflected His Royal Highness’s wishes and included some unique personal touches such as a custom-built Land Rover Defender TD5 130 that carried his coffin through the procession.
Prince Philip has long been associated with Land Rover, using them throughout his adult life. The Duke granted a Royal Warrant to Land Rover 40 years ago – a mark of recognition to people and companies who regularly provide goods and services to the Royal Family. In 2004, Prince Philip accompanied Her Majesty The Queen to the opening of Land Rovers engine factory in Wolverhampton, amongst many other visits to Land Rovers manufacturing facilities. The Duke always took particular interest in the practical utilitarian design and engineering of the Land Rover vehicles. Over time Land Rover has become a representation of industrious Britain, with the original Land Rover being built in 1948. The early models used the surplus aluminium and paint from the World War 2 aircrafts. The functional four-wheel-drive became the vehicle of choice for farmland owners and the military around the world.
Prince Philip had much involvement in the planning of his funeral which included the custom-built Land Rover Defender hearse he designed specifically for the procession. Prince Philip spent 18 years overseeing the design and build at Land Rover’s factory in Solihull. Designing the open-top rear and special rubber grips on silver metal pins known as stops to secure the coffin in place. The Land Rover Defender was originally painted Belize Green, and His Royal Highness Prince Philip who served with distinction in the Second World War and held special associations with the Armed forces, had the Land Rover modified to Dark Bronze-Green, the same colour used for Military Land Rover vehicles. A fitting dedication to his military background. Other details seen on the polished, sturdy, utilitarian Defender included matching green hubs, a black front grille, heavy duty wheels and no registration plates. The palace reported that Land Rover stored and maintained the vehicle in their factory in Solihull and the vehicle underwent its final changes in 2019.
Thierry Bollore, Jaguar Land Rover’s Chief Executive said “We are deeply privileged to have enjoyed a very long and happy association with The Duke of Edinburgh over many decades. The Duke would engage with hundred of Land Rover employees during his visits. The Duke was a truly remarkable man and will be greatly missed”.
The meticulously planned procession saw the specially designed Land Rover Defender hearse drive the Dukes coffin from the state entrance of Windsor Castle, across the Quadrangle to St George’s Chapel. The Land Rover Defender hearse was followed by members of the Royal Family, the Armed Forces, the Duke’s household and Her Majesty The Queen. The procession was lined by representatives of the Royal Marines, the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force and the 4th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland. As the coffin arrived at the Horseshoe Cloister, it was met by representatives from the Commonwealth and a Dismounted Detachment of the Household Cavalry.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “The Land Rover, with its unique and idiosyncratic silhouette, perfectly sums up the kind of person Prince Philip was. He was above all a practical man, who could take something very traditional, whether a machine or indeed a great national institution, and find a way by his own ingenuity to improve it, to adapt it for the 20th and 21st century”.