Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kate Middleton will be swept off to her April 29 wedding at Westminster Abbey in a distinctive 1997 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI, and will return to Buckingham Palace in a 1902 horse-drawn carriage.

The distinctive claret and black Rolls-Royce, which was damaged in December when Prince Charles and his wife Camilla were attacked by student protesters, will have its paintwork and windows repaired by the royal wedding day, officials said Tuesday.

The car was damaged Dec. 9 when a mob protesting student fee hikes hit the car with sticks and bottles.

"There was paint damage and damage to the glass," said Alex Garty, transport manager at Buckingham Palace. "The repairs are ongoing. We're using that opportunity to give her a 60-minute makeover, so she will look her best for the wedding."

Royal brides have typically arrived for their weddings in special horse-drawn coaches, but Middleton has decided to travel to the church by car.

After the ceremony, she and Prince William will ride in an open-topped 1902 State Landau horse-drawn carriage for the procession back to Buckingham Palace, unless inclement weather leads them to use the famed "Glass Coach," which has a fixed roof to keep rain at bay.

The 1902 State Landau, housed at the Royal Mews near Buckingham Palace, was built for King Edward VII for use at his coronation. It is typically used by the queen to meet foreign heads of state on official visits to Britain.

Charles used it to travel to St. Paul's Cathedral for his 1981 wedding, leaving the cathedral with Princess Diana.

The crowd-pleasing Glass Coach, which will be used only if there is steady rain, was built in 1881. In the past it has been used to carry royal brides, including Diana and Sarah Ferguson, to their weddings.

Charles' press office Tuesday released details about the procession indicating there would be five horse-drawn carriages.

The first would carry William and his bride. The next two carriages would carry Prince Harry, the best man, and Pippa Middleton, the maid of honor, and the bridesmaids.

The next carriage will carry Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, followed by a carriage with Prince Charles, Camilla, the duchess of Cornwall, and Michael and Carole Middleton, the bride's parents.


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