PRINCE Philip spent 16 years designing the modified military green Land Rover that will take him on his final journey.
He started work on it in 2003 when he turned 82 and was still tinkering with it as recently as 2019 at the age of 98.
The bespoke Land Rover Defender TD5 130 was unveiled for the first time today ahead of Saturday's funeral.
The hearse will transport the Duke of Edinburgh to St George's Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle.
- Prince Harry and William won't stand near each other at Philip's funeral on Saturday
- The Royal Family won't wear military uniforms at the service – instead wearing morning coat with medals
- The Queen will sit alone after arriving in a Bentley with a Lady in Waiting
- The pall bearers at Prince Philip's funeral will be members of the Royal Marines
- Pregnant Meghan Markle will make 'private arrangements' to mark the funeral
- The full guest list of 30 attendees was revealed
He insisted on designing it himself as plans were drawn up for his funeral under the codename Operation Forth Bridge.
He would often joke with the Queen when discussing his send-off: "Just stick me in the back of a Land Rover and drive me to Windsor."
Large parts of his funeral were hastily redrawn as the nation battled Covid – but the Land Rover remained at its very heart.
Under the revised plans Prince Charles and other members of the Royal Family will walk behind it in an eight-minute procession.
The polished sturdy, utilitarian vehicle, with its heavy duty wheels and angular structure, reflects the Duke's passion for engineering.
The imposing Defender was made at Land Rover's factory in Solihull in 2003 – with various modifications made over the years.
The Duke requested the original Belize Green bodywork be switched to Dark Bronze Green, a colour used for many military Land Rovers.
He also designed the open top rear section where his coffin will rest, made to his exact specifications, including the rubber "stops" on silver metal pins that will hold his coffin in place.
It also features matching green hubs, a black front grille, a single cab and no registration plates.
Land Rover has maintained the vehicle since it was built and has prepared it for the funeral.
And in a "belt and braces" approach a 'twin' was also made and will be available in Windsor in case of any last-minute hitches.
Thierry Bollore, Jaguar Land Rover's chief executive, hailed Philip's "impressive knowledge and deep interest in vehicle design, engineering and manufacturing".
He said: "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.
"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."
The duke used Land Rovers throughout his adult life and granted his Royal Warrant to Land Rover over 40 years ago.
He visited the firm's manufacturing facilities on numerous occasions over the decades and accompanied the Queen when she opened its new Engine Manufacturing Centre in Wolverhampton in 2014.
Under The Land Rover's original role would also have been to transport the duke 22 miles from Wellington Arch in central London to Windsor.
But the coronavirus pandemic curtailed the long-held plans for military parades in honour of Philip through the streets of both the capital and the Berkshire town.
It will be flanked by pall bearers reflecting the duke's special relationships with the military, the Royal Marines, Regiments, Corps and Air Stations.
Palace officials have told how the duke's interest in design sparked his desire to make the Land Rover and include it in his funeral plans.
A senior Buckingham Palace aide said: "The Duke had a great interest in design.
"The Land Rover was very much part of the original plans as approved by the Duke."
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