The marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton was the biggest royal event in Britain for 30 years. Statistics have revealed that global internet traffic was at its peak at around 1.30pm with 5.3 million page views per minute.
Prince William drove his new bride out of the gates at Buckingham Palace yesterday in his father’s precious Aston Martin Volante. The 1969 Aston Martin DB6 was given to Charles by the Queen as a 21st birthday present and was recently converted to run on 100 per cent bioethanol fuel distilled from surplus British wine as part of efforts to cut his carbon footprint.
A mix of Jaguars, Rolls-Royces, and Bentleys provided most of the automotive transport for the day, though the newlywed couple was followed by a Range Rover. Middleton’s mother was taken to Westminster Abbey in a chauffeured Jaguar. A 1977 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI specially made for Queen Elizabeth II was the mode of transport to the abbey for Kate.
The Rolls was given to the Queen in 1978 for the Silver Jubilee of her reign by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, a grand gesture by the imploding British auto industry. It’s a sign of those times for British automakers that the Queen’s 25th anniversary was 1977, but a strike delayed delivery of the limo.
Based on the Phantom V, the Phantom VI had a re-styled facia and was powered by an engine derived from the current Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. Most of the coachwork was done by Mulliner Park Ward, usually in limousines form, though a few landaulettes were made. (Accounting for custom security modifications, the car’s estimated value is approximately $1.5 million.)
The queen’s Bentleys were used for the occasion, as well. The two modern Bentleys were custom-made with input from the queen, her chauffeur, and Prince Philip, the queen’s husband and Prince William’s grandfather. Understandably, details of this one-off limo are scant. Three feet longer, 10 inches taller, and six inches wider than a standard Bentley Arnage, it is powered by a twin-turbocharged, 6.75-litre V8 Engine that has been modified from Bentley’s Arnage R version to produce 400 hp (300 kW) and 616 lb•ft (835 N•m) of torque. Maximum speed is 130 mph (210 km/h). It is equipped with broad coach doors that open to the rear almost 90 degrees.
All the motor coaches used on the day have been supplied on a temporary loan from Volkswagen for the wedding, and will be driven by drivers from Westway Coaches.