Embattled Rolls and fairytale carriage for royal wedding
The royal Rolls-Royce that was attacked by rioting students will carry Kate Middleton to the church on Friday, while she and her new husband Prince William will leave afterwards in a fairytale horse-drawn carriage.
Britain's royal family is getting some of its finest state cars and coaches out for the showpiece wedding, showing off some of the historic carriages lovingly maintained in the Buckingham Palace Mews.
Kate will travel across central London from the luxury Goring Hotel to Westminster Abbey in a claret Rolls-Royce Phantom VI, accompanied by her father Michael.
The eyes of the world will be on the car, which was given to Queen Elizabeth II in 1978 to mark her silver jubilee the year before.
However, the Rolls-Royce was in the public eye as recently as December, when student protesters attacked the vehicle as it carried Prince Charles and his second wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, to a London theatre gala.
The window where Charles sat was smashed and the car was smattered with white paint. One thug managed to poke Camilla with a stick through an open window.
However, the Mews has restored the car to its former glory and it sits with pride once again in the state collection, which includes two Bentleys, three Rolls-Royces and three Daimlers.
William and his best man Prince Harry will arrive at the abbey in a Bentley -- the twin version of the car the queen herself will travel in.
When the prince and his new wife leave the abbey, they will be at the head of a glittering procession back to Buckingham Palace in the state coaches.
They will wave to the crowds from the 1902 State Landau, the same carriage used in 1981 at the wedding of William's parents Charles and Diana, princess of Wales.
However, in the event of heavy rain, they will travel in the Glass Coach.
The 1902 State Landau is the most-used carriage at the Mews.
Bearing four lanterns, it is richly adorned with gold leaf and upholstered in a crimson satin. It is normally used open, and drawn by six horses.
The Glass Coach was built in 1881. Often used for weddings, it carried Diana to hers and when the queen and Prince Philip got married in 1947, it brought them back from Westminster Abbey.
It is driven with two or four horses and has special interior lighting.
There will be five horse-drawn carriages in total in the procession.
The second will bear Harry, while the third will carry Pippa Middleton, the bride's sister and maid of honour.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip will ride in the fourth, while Charles and Camilla, plus Middleton's parents Michael and Carole, will ride in the fifth.
© 2011 AFP