by Stephanie Boyd
Drawn behind six horses, the new Diamond Jubilee State Coach carried Queen Elizabeth II to the State Opening of Parliament Wednesday
LONDON, United Kingdom -- Unveiled and used for the first time to carry Queen Elizabeth II to the State Opening of Parliament on Wednesday, the new royal carriage celebrates hundreds of years of British history.
The new Diamond Jubilee State Coach is only the second royal carriage to be built in a century. Measuring five-and-a-half metres in length and weighing three tonnes, the royal carriage has taken 50 people more than 10 years to build. Drawn by six horses, it not only marks hundreds of years of history but also features a 360-degree "coachcam" offering a monarch's-eye view of the procession, motor-racing technology and gold-plated hydraulics to make the ride more comfortable.
Created by Jim Frecklington in Sydney, Australia, the state carriage incorporates fragments of Henry VIII's warship the Mary Rose, Sir Issac Newton's apple tree and the stone of destiny within its bodywork. Travelling in the coach, the Queen is seated on a piece of Scotland's Stone of Destiny, upon which monarchs are traditionally crowned, surrounded by a bolt from a Spitfire, a musket ball from Waterloo, a bolt and rivets from the Flying Scotsman and a button from Gallipoli.
"I wanted to make something in honour of Her Majesty’s great reign and something which represents our extraordinary history," Frecklington said, adding: "Our present Queen will go down in history as one of the greatest monarchs that's ever lived and I thought something very special - a tangible item - should be produced."
The Queen travelled in the new State Coach for the first time on Wednesday morning to the State Opening of Parliament, colloquially referred to as the "Queen's Speech", during which she set out the British government's legislative programme for the coming year.