Frequently asked questions

Which carriages and coaches are still used by the Royal family?

Housed in the Royal Mews is the collection of historic carriages and coaches, most of which are still in use to convey members of the Royal family in State ceremonial processions or on other Royal occasions.

The oldest coach is the Gold State Coach, first used by George III when he opened Parliament in 1762 and used for every coronation since George IV's in 1821. As its name implies, it is gilded all over and the exterior is decorated with painted panels. It weighs four tons and requires eight horses to pull it.

The coach now used by The Queen at the State Opening of Parliament is known as the Irish State Coach because the original was built in 1851 by a Dublin coachbuilder. Although extensively damaged by fire in 1911, the existing coach was completely restored in 1989. The exterior is blue and black with gilt decoration and the interior is covered in blue damask. It is normally driven from the box seat using four horses.

Other coaches include the Scottish State Coach (used for Scottish and English processions), Queen Alexandra's State Coach (used to convey the Imperial State Crown to Parliament for the State Opening), the 1902 State Landau, and Australian State Coach (presented to The Queen in 1988), the Glass Coach (used for royal weddings) and the State and Semi-State Landaus (used in State processions).

In addition there are two barouches (used every year by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother at Trooping the Colour), broughams (which every day carry messengers on their official rounds in London), Queen Victoria's Ivory-Mounted Phaeton (used by The Queen since 1987 for her Birthday Parade) as well as a number of other carriages. In all, there are over 100 coaches and carriages in the Royal Collection.

All the carriages and coaches are maintained by craftsmen in the Royal Mews Department and some of the coaches and carriages can be viewed on days when the Royal Mews is open to the public.

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