Douglas Bader will travel in the Coronation Coach!

We’re proud to announce that Douglas Bader will travel in the Coronation Coach tomorrow as it takes our future King and Queen from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey for the Coronation ceremony.

  • 10:20am: The royal procession from Buckingham Palace will begin. Charles and Camilla will travel on the Diamond Jubilee Coach – a nod to the late Queen Elizabeth II – leaving the Central Arch. The procession will pass many famous London landmarks en route to Westminster Abbey.

(For the full Coronation Day timetable and more information, please see the link at the bottom of this post.)

The DBF connection goes back about 15 years when Keith Delderfield, DBF Bader Grant Scheme Director, had protracted correspondence with Mr W. J. (Jim) Frecklington, who designed and built the coach in Australia. He was looking for memorabilia from people and places of note to incorporate into the structure of the carriage. After discussion Douglas’s widow, Lady Bader OBE, selected and sent over the commemorative medallion awarded to her in Paris when Sir Douglas was voted into the Top 100 Aviators of the Centenary of Flight.

The medallion was duly built into the carriage where it can clearly be seen above Douglas Bader’s name over the armrest in the photo. We are extremely proud to know that Douglas Bader will travel in the Coronation Coach!

Douglas Bader will travel in the Coronation Coach!

King Charles 111 is breaking with tradition in choosing to travel in this coach, called The Diamond Jubilee Coach, instead of the the Gold State Coach, which he and Queen Camilla will use for the return journey. It is believed that he chose Jim Frecklington’s coach for sentimental reasons because it was the last coach made under Queen Elizabeth’s reign. Originally intended for her 80th birthday, it was delayed by 8 years and instead used to commemorate her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and later for the State Opening of Parliament in 2014. It is also said to be one of the most comfortable royal coaches as Mr Frecklington made more than a nod to the comfort of his passengers including electric windows, air conditioning and 6 hydraulic stabilisers to prevent it from swaying!

Mr Frecklington built the coach with the aim of honouring traditional craftsmanship. He added more modern elements of British History by incorporating the medals and memorabilia such as Sir Douglas’s medallion but also including donations from the Tower of London, Balmoral, Westminster Abbey, Kensington Palace, the Tudor ship Mary Rose and many others. Much of the wooden interior comes from over 100 historic sites including handrails from the Royal Yacht Britannia. The original name chosen for the coach was State Coach Britannia.

Mr Frecklington made the coach of his own free will using a donation by the Australian Government of £138,000 and meeting the rest of the substantial costs himself. It was apparently endorsed but not commissioned by Buckingham Palace and ultimately purchased by the Royal Collection Trust.

It has an aluminium body, is over 5 meters long and weights over three tons requiring 3 grooms and 6 horses to pull it. Upholstered in yellow silk, it also features a gilded crown on the top, which can also hold a camera to film its journeys.

Tomorrow it will depart from the Central Gate of Buckingham Palace drawn by six Windsor Grey Horses.

There’s no doubt it will look magnificent and is a wonderful feat of design and engineering by Jim Frecklington. What an honour it will be for him to see his masterpiece in all its glory performing this hugely important role. I hope that he’ll be watching the event with deserved pride and delight.

For more information, please check out the link beneath this post for the article in Design Week written by Tom Banks on June 4th 2014 about his beautiful, unique creation.

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