The unique Defender hearse that will transport Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, at his funeral has been unveiled. The custom bodywork and overall design have been reportedly made to the Prince’s own specifications.
It’s a custom-made 2003 Td5 Defender 130 truck cab – one of two built – with an appropriately military theme. The paint is Deep Bronze Green, a discrete and traditional shade used on some MOD Defenders and on other older Land Rovers used by the Royal family.
The steel wheels are heavy-duty ‘HD’ rims – also known as ‘Wolf’ rims after their military application on the Land Rover Wolf. They’re fitted with Goodyear G90 tyres, a mud terrain pattern commonly found on MoD Land Rovers.
The wheel arches are black rather than colour coded, preserving the utilitarian look, but with a gloss finish rather than agricultural matte – suggestive of the Land Rover’s far-from-ordinary purpose.
The Defender also features slightly raised ride height, with uniquely deep side-skirts to conceal its chassis – even deeper than those fitted to Series IIs and IIAs prior to 1969.
Land Rover never offered the Defender 130 in this Truck Cab configuration. The closest production model would have been a 110 Truck Cab, or a 130 Double Cab Hi Capacity Pick-up, with two rows of seating and a wide but shorter rear tub. However, the famously modular nature of the old Defender means that the conversion for Prince Philip’s hearse is likely to have been quite straight forward – although you can see where the infill panel has been added ahead of the 110 rear tub, which has been moved back in line with the longer wheelbase.
The bespoke bodywork built across the rear tub is designed to hold the Prince’s coffin in place during the funeral procession.
There is precedent for having a Royal coffin transported on the back of a military-themed Land Rover. In 1979 at the funeral of Lord Louis Mountbatten (Prince Philip's uncle), transportation duty was assigned to a stripped-down 101 Forward Control GS.
JLR’s Chief Executive, Thierry Bolloré, has spoken of the Duke’s ‘impressive knowledge and deep interest in vehicle design, engineering and manufacturing.
‘We are deeply privileged to have enjoyed a very long and happy association with the Duke of Edinburgh over many decades. We are also honoured that the Land Rover which the duke designed will be used at the funeral on Saturday. The duke was a tremendous champion for design, engineering and technology. During his visits to our sites he engaged with hundreds of employees and demonstrated his impressive knowledge and deep interest in vehicle design, engineering and manufacturing. The duke was a truly remarkable man and will be greatly missed.’
Social distancing requirements mean that the original plan for public gatherings have been cancelled. Instead, the Land Rover the process around Windsor Castle before the funeral and interment at St George’s Chapel. Further details, including the Running Order, can be found at the Royal Family’s website.