King breaks with tradition as role of Gold State Coach is reduced
26th February 2023

King breaks with tradition as role of Gold State Coach is reduced for Coronation: Charles and Camilla will not use famous 260-year-old carriage to travel from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey for the ceremony

  • King and Queen will choose a more comfortable mode of transport on May 6 
  • Royal couple expected to use coach to travel back to Buckingham Palace 
  • Read more: Camilla wants five teenage grandchildren to take centre stage   

The Gold State Coach will not be used by the King and Queen to travel to Westminster Abbey for their coronation on May 6. 

In a break from tradition, the royal couple will instead travel to the ceremony in another vehicle. 

They could choose to use the Irish State Coach, which is often used to travel to the state opening of Parliament or might opt for a more comfortable car. 

The Gold State coach will wait for the King and Queen outside Westminster Abbey and transport them back to the Palace.  

Queen Elizabeth used the carriage to travel to her 1953 coronation but said in 2018 that the ride was ‘horrible’ as there is not much suspension on the 1760 coach. 

The Gold State Coach will still have a role in the upcoming coronation. It has been used at every coronation since that of George IV 

The King will not travel to the May 6 coronation ceremony in the historic Gold State Coach although the royal couple are expected to use it afterwards 

Royal experts told The Telegraph that the royals are likely to still use a carriage, rather than a car, as a nod to the King’s late father, Prince Philip. 

Dr George Gross, visiting fellow in theology at King’s College London and co-founder of the British Coronations Project, said the King and Queen could make a nod to the Commonwealth in their choice. 

‘I think it would not be surprising if they travelled in another coach from the Royal Mews Collection, possibly the Diamond Jubilee State Coach – built in Australia and therefore incorporating another Commonwealth element to the event.’

The late Queen Elizabeth II said the Gold State Coach, while beautiful, was not a comfortable vehicle to ride in. 

A 25-year-old Queen Elizabeth II in the Gold State Coach at her coronation in 1953. She endured a two-hour ride in the uncomfortable carriage  

She used the state carriage to travel to her own coronation but said in a program about the event in 2018 that the ride was ‘horrible’. 

The Queen said: ‘It’s only sprung on leather. Not very comfortable.’

Despite her lack of enjoyment, the Queen endured a two-hour, four-and-a-half mile return journey from the abbey – to make sure her and the Duke of Edinburgh could wave to as many adoring subjects as possible. 

She also used it for her Silver and Golden Jubilee celebrations. During the celebrations for her Diamond Jubilee in 2022, a hologram of the Queen at her coronation was displayed from the coach 

It was commissioned in 1760, first used by George III and has been used at every coronation from George IV onwards.

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