Kate to use car damaged in British student riots

22nd March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Kate Middleton will travel to her wedding in a Rolls Royce limousine that was damaged when student protesters attacked Prince Charles and his wife Camilla in December, royal officials said.

Staff are repairing the claret-coloured 1977 Phantom VI after it was spattered with white paint and had a rear window badly cracked by rioters opposed to government plans to raise university fees.

"It's not extensive, it's just minor damage following the incident before Christmas, it will be ready in time," said Colonel Toby Browne, who runs the Royal Mews which looks after royal horses, vehicles and drivers.

Kate is marrying Prince William -- Prince Charles' son and the second-in-line to the throne -- in London's Westminster Abbey on April 29 in Britain's biggest royal wedding for 30 years.

Browne added: "One of the problems (is) it's such a special car there are details that have to be reproduced and are not available off the shelf."

"The claret paint is specific to (all royal) cars and certain bits of glass had to be made, but it's really a minor detail you won't notice."

Charles and Camilla, his second wife, were unhurt in the assault on the car on December 9, which prompted a high-level security review.

Meanwhile many royal watchers may be hoping for rain at the wedding and the appearance of a famed horse-drawn bridal carriage used by William's mother Diana.

The Glass Coach, which carried Diana to her 1981 wedding to Charles in St Paul's Cathedral, will only be used in the event of wet weather for the couple's journey from the abbey to Buckingham Palace.

If conditions are fair an open-topped gold 1902 State Landau coach will be used instead. It was used to carry Charles to the wedding 30 years ago and then to take the newlywed couple back to Buckingham Palace.

"This was the carriage that Diana and Sarah Ferguson used to go from Clarence House to their churches," Martin Oates, senior carriage restorer, said of the Glass Coach.

"Because we're only doing one way this year, we won't be actually using it as what they class as the bridal carriage, but this is the carriage that everybody wants to see," he added.

The glass carriage, weighing almost one tonne, was originally designed as a sheriff's town coach when it was built by Peters and Sons in 1881. It came into royal hands when it was purchased for George V's coronation in 1911.

Oates admitted he was apprehensive about the big day.

"It's been a lot of preparation, and obviously it's just nice to be part of the big day and hopefully everyone will be watching what I do," he said.

"It's a bit of a worry as well because if something does go wrong, I'll be in trouble."

Prince Harry, William's younger brother and best man, and Pippa Middleton, Kate's maid of honour, will follow in two separate Ascot Landau carriages.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will ride in a semi-state Landau as will Charles and Camilla, who will be joined by Kate's parents.

© 2011 AFP

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