Saturday, 14 June 2014

Australian Designer, creativity and passion … new Royal Carriage, Ceremonial events ...

Before I get to the new Gold Carriage … the Queen continues on with her ‘rush of events’ … this past week the Duke celebrated his 93rd birthday with a Garden Party for 8,000 guests at Buckingham Palace … he always puts duty first … he then has had seven other engagements …

The new Diamond Jubilee
State Carriage 2014

The Duke is the longest serving consort in British history and also the oldest serving partner of a reigning monarch … and is one of those veterans of the 2nd World War serving in the Royal Navy.

I note that the Duke has intelligently succumbed to a walking stick, while the Queen still manages without ….

c/o What's on in London

… today is when “Trooping the Colour” takes place to officially celebrate The Queen’s Birthday – her actual birthday is 21st April – I have posted before about the military parade that has taken place in London since 1820.

This photo is ‘borrowed’ from “What’s on in London” – and shows the Guards Memorial: Cenotaph with five life-size bronze figures representing the Foot Guards Regiments (Grenadiers, Coldstream, Scots, Welsh and Irish).

The sculptures were made from guns captured in World War 1 and were modelled on real guardsmen.  (see more interesting info here).

A cenotaph is an “empty tomb” or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere.

The Queen’s engagements next week are close to her heart … horse-racing at Royal Ascot (I wrote about the Queen’s Horses last year) – this dates back 300 years being steeped in tradition, heritage and pageantry …

Founded by Queen Anne in 1711, Royal Ascot features a daily horse-drawn procession from Windsor Castle to the racecourse led by the Royal Carriage, an open Landau.

The Royal Procession returns to Windsor Castle
having dropped the Queen off

The Diamond Jubilee State Coach used at the Opening of Parliament on June 4th is of a very different calibre – being brand new … the idea of one remarkable Australian.

Jim Freckington, an ardent monarchist with a passion for horses and carriage building, eventually after a stint in the Arctic, came to England and ended up at Windsor looking after the Duke’s four-in-hand team of horses …

Mr Frecklington with 'his' coach

… from there to the Royal Mews, where he was part of the team that looked after the Royal ceremonial horses.  During this time, he also drove the carriages on ceremonial occasions and served as an outrider at Ascot.

His adventurous spirit led him to Canada where he took tours through the Canadian Rocky Mountains from Banff to Jasper, but he was not forgotten by the Royal Household, and in 1977 he was invited to manage the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Exhibition, including two of the most famous Royal carriages, during its tour of Australia.

Sydney: the gold chariot made for the Olympics

He subsequently has worked on a number of artistic initiatives for ceremonial occasions … the Queen’s visits down under, the Sydney Olympics and the Pope’s Lamps of Peace …

This true Aussie, whose family emigrated in the 1850s, was not finished … he wanted to make something in honour of Her Majesty’s great reign and something which represents Britain’s extraordinary history …

… so he set about building something even larger than the Australian State Coach at his workshop near Sydney. 

The labour of love in situ at
the Mews, Buckingham Palace

The construction was a labour of love … all the springs were hand-forged, while the wheels were cast in aircraft-strength aluminium and made by one of Australia’s leading racing car designers.

Mr Frecklington wanted to use the finest craftsmen and women from all over the Commonwealth … so the leather is English, as is the gold silk brocade upholstery from Sudbury, Suffolk.

The oak crown with its 'coach-cam'
The carved oak crown on the roof came from Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory … which houses the royal website’s 360 degree ‘coach-cam’ …

.. the other 21st century technological additions are hidden controls for the heating and electric windows.

The coach contains relics of all those key moments sacred to Britain and so much of the Commonwealth … historic artefacts from castles, palaces, cathedrals, stately homes, Sir Isaac Newton’s apple tree, Scott’s Antarctic sled …

... a sliver of a Bronze Age sewn plank boat ... three have been found in the Humber estuary ... dated about 1800 BC ... known as the Ferriby boats (we have heard that '-by' suffix here recently .. vis a vis Scandinavian words)

A pre 1918 WW1
Victoria Cross - for
naval valour

… and includes a strong theme of sacrifice – metalwork from a Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster – reminders of battlefields: a musket ball from Waterloo – a fragment of the bronze cannon, from which every Victoria Cross is cast …

The whole mind-boggling attention to detail amazes me … and really is a sight to behold and read about … our history encapsulated into only the second royal carriage to be built in a century …

Another snippet around 400 books of gold leaf were used to decorate the vehicle – who knew you could buy books of gold leaf – each booklet contains 25 leaves …

A gold leaf
… little wonder this three-ton coach – 18 foot long – has taken 50 people more than 10 years to assemble and will now be on show in the Royal Mews – a place to visit … for the carriages, the tack room, stables and some horses …

Jim Frecklington was allocated a ringside view of the royal arrival at the Palace of Westminster for the Opening of Parliament … his next project is a tribute to horses that went to war.

Jim Frecklington in Australia before the Coach was
shipped over

It seems he has created a little historical magic with his Royal Carriage for a lady he describes as ‘a wonderful example to humanity’, while acknowledging that his mission could not have been accomplished without an amazing team.

I have not done justice to the thought, craftsmanship, people involved … in this incredibly successful project … and I would highly recommend that you check the details out for yourself …

… lead crystal from Edinburgh; intricate heraldic paintwork has been hand-painted by Irish-born Australian, Paula Church; door handles from New Zealand – each is gold-plated and inlaid with diamonds and Australian sapphires; …

An example of guilloche

… the paintwork – ten coats of paint were used, including three of Jubilee Claret, give the bodywork a mirror finish that changes colour in different light …

… even the bolts which fix the gold-plated hand supports to the bodywork have been finished using the same guilloche enamel as a Faberge egg … and so it goes on ….

Here are a few links to have a better look:

The Daily Telegraph’s website – shows the carriage and highlights many of its delightful and intriguing aspects …

Want a book of gold leaf – or a leaf - go here!

Further information on Jim Frecklington's work - see this Australian site - and the gold chariot, made for the Sydney Olympics .. 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


  1. Very impressive! A fairytale collection of memories for the Queen. My grandmother used to buy gold leaf to use in her ceramics shop for monogrammed plates and edgings.

  2. Beautiful. That carriage is a rolling history museum. :)

  3. I love the new style of the carriage.
    When we were in England the queen and prince Phillip were on the younger side. This was in 1972. I guess every one gets old.

    I always knew that the Palace is beautiful and big but that many guests. Wow
    Thanks for sharing. Cheers!

  4. A lot of interesting information. It must be amazing to see such a procession in person. What a great history and culture.

  5. That is one impressive coach.
    Neither the Queen nor the Duke are slowing down, are they? Really impressive. Hope I'm that spry at their age.

  6. Love the idea of all those relics being contained in the coach. Thanks for updating us on the Royal family's movements too - I keep forgetting to check The Times court circular. I signed up for their Twitter feed a while ago, but I don't think they update it regularly, unfortunately.

    Oh, and that's neat about the University of the 3rd Age. I took a course last winter - there's so much to learn all the time!

  7. Hello Hilary

    A fascinating post which I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning.
    The blue ribbon attached to the Victoria Cross is new to me. I am familiar with the dark red ribbon.(My late father in law Fred Tilston VC was a recipent)
    Jim Frecklington's labour of love is meticulous in detail. A true work of art and love

    Helen xx

  8. An amazing carriage.... and amazingly expensive, I'm sure.

  9. Wonderful information here Hilary. The Queen made such an incredible impression when she visited Ireland last year - she is remarkable woman for 88.

  10. How do you find all these snippets?
    I am not actually planning to delve further, you have given me the ‘Reader’s Digest’ and that’ll have to do but I am in awe of your perseverance. You must have spent hours searching for details for this post.

    It is very interesting in a Ruritanian sort of way. I love watching all this pomp and as we all know it gets the tourists’ attention too. Which must be a good thing.
    I don’t think there is another country on earth which does this stuff as well as England.

  11. I met Jim and saw the Coach in his workshop in Sydney before it was shipped to London. An amazing man and an amazing and beautiful coach.

  12. hi grandblogmom!

    wow! what an amazing carriage. every little part of it is a piece of history. mr frecklington must of done a ton of research and then had to go find and buy all the historical parts. i went to the daily telegraph site and theres really cool pictures and some more interesting info. the inside is just as awesome as the outside. the queen deserves to ride in something so fantastic.

    thanks for another cool post.

    ...hugs from lenny

  13. I never tire of seeing England through your eyes, Hilary.

  14. You remind me of things I had forgotten or tell me things I never knew. I once had a book of gold leaf, not sure where it came from but I used it to decorate the name of my home at one time and got it to adhere to the letters with nail polish. I have no idea what happened to the rest of the book. I must say I think both the Duke and Her Majesty are doing a sterling job and you are recording bits of English history in a wonderful way. Thanks Hilary.

  15. That is a beautiful carriage! And how wonderful that a carriage is still used for this celebration (instead of something more modern).

    I find it fascinating that Prince Philip is the longest-serving, oldest consort of a British monarch. He may need a cane, but he's still looking pretty sturdy!

  16. brilliant information, succinctly put. thank you Hillary I appreciate this very much.

  17. @ DG - it is impressive isn't it - I can imagine Prince George completely loving this in a few years?! But the Queen must delight in these sorts of initiatives.

    I know gold leaf is used - but I'd never thought of it being sold in books .. while your grandmother sounds very artistic and enterprising .. I hope you've lots of records of her and her shop?

    @ Luanna - yes, that's the way the carriage is described a rolling history museum - sadly I doubt we'll be able to pore over it and study it .. still we'll be able to see it in the Mews.

    @ Munir - Yes 1972 is a long time ago isn't it .. when we were all younger. The Garden Party is a garden party - you are outside in the grounds with huge marquees in case of rain .. I went years ago with my father to one ...

    @ Murees - I have to admit I've never been to actually see a royal event .. so much easier to watch on tv I'm afraid to say!

    @ Alex - I was amazed at the coach and the detail that has gone into it ..

    No, after the last couple of years with a blip or two, both the Queen and Prince Philip seem in fighting spirit .. which is wonderful for us .. and like you I hope I'm spry too ...

    @ Deniz - the Daily Telegraph photos show the relics off in situ ... and I'd love to see them in person - sometime I'll get to the Mews again ..

    I'm not good at keeping up with all things - but being in the country helps with the radio and tv ... I'm impressed you signed up for The Times Court Circular and to a Twitter feed ... however if it's not being updated that's a pity for overseas followers ...

    I was going to do a FutureLearn course too on Shakespeare - but just couldn't do it all - the A-Z and April .. but I'm enjoying being part of the Uni of the 3rd Age ... so I shall see what I can manage once the Autumn terms starts up ..

    @ Helen - good to see you again ... the Blue Ribbon VC came from Wikipedia - the dark red of your late FIL is for a military VC ... but I heard a talk on VCs and it was quite a convoluted award - I thought I might write about it .. but I didn't think I could do it justice ...

    Jim Frecklington is just such an ardent monarchist .. and it is a true work of art.

    @ Mike - the technologies used in the coach are brilliant - and initially Jim Frecklington initially funded it himself, then the Australian govt gave a donation .. but over time was granted access to use the historical slivers, and eventually the Royal Collection Trust purchased it ...

    @ Fil - thanks .. and that's good to have a note on the effect the Queen's visit had to Ireland in 2011 - the first visit of a reigning monarch in one hundred years - she is remarkable ..

    @ Friko - thanks I see it, hear it, read things and check things out - hence the mix-and-match in my postings ... this post for me was done quite quickly! D-day is going to be another story ..

    That's an interesting thought a Ruritanian world .. but like you I love the pomp and ceremony and always feel very British and nostalgic ... and we do do all these pageants, ceremonies etc exceptionally well and historically they connect the eras ...

    @ Silvia - what a very brilliant visit that must have been .. such a good decision to go and see the Coach and meet Jim Frecklington .. he must be very well known in Australia ... so creative as far as carriages and horses are concerned ...

    Thanks so much for visiting and adding your own snippets and comments .. cheers Hilary

    Part 2 following ...

  18. Part 2 of my replies:

    @ GrandBlogSon! - that's just brilliant you took time to look round the Daily Telegraph site .. the photos are so good aren't they .. and show lots of the detail.

    I like the snippets of history they give too.. and as you say the Queen definitely does deserve to ride in something so fantastic ...

    Delighted you enjoyed the post .. and hugs back!

    @ Karen - thanks so much ...

    @ Jo - I think I do that to myself too .. memories come back, or I check out things I didn't know - like the gold leaf ... and fascinating to hear you used nail varnish to adhere your gold leaf!

    I just enjoy drafting up these snippet posts and putting that slightly different take on things - glad they meet approval. The Queen and Prince Philip are absolutely doing a sterling job, so true ...

    @ Dianne - when you come over to see your Arthurian Gallery at the British Museum, you might consider going down to the Mews and seeing it ..??

    They both seem to be in pretty good health and are breaking records by the day ... she will be the longest serving living monarch and beat Queen Victoria in just over a year's time .. 9th September 2015 ... their marriage has endured and is obviously very strong ...

    @ Cecilia - gosh you use the word 'succinctly' for me .. thank you! Just delighted you enjoyed it all ..

    Thanks so much for visiting and adding your own snippets and comments .. cheers Hilary

  19. I had no idea there were so many historical elements incorporated in the coach. I like that - and that it also uses modern technology.

    The Queen and Prince Phillip are amazing. It must be tiring to be so much on show and always expected to be interested and involved. Bet there are days they'd rather sit back and watch it all on TV instead.

  20. What an extraordinary project, to make that coach. And what a huge birthday party for the Duke to have at 93. Those royals sure do show us how to keep on keeping on. Thanks Hilary, all very interesting.

  21. They do work hard, don't they. Prince Phillip gets a bad reds sometimes but my husband often talks of the time he was at an official opening of a new building for problem youngsters. The Duke virtually ignored the dignitaries and spent the whole time talking with the youngsters. That's not taking the easy option!

  22. I love what they have done with the carriage. Incorporating all those elements makes it a truly memorable piece of history.

  23. So very impressive and such wonderful tradition.

  24. Very fancy indeed. Masters of both pomp and circumstance -- not to mention gold-leafing.

  25. Hi Hillary. A very interesting look behind the news. I love Blogs like this where someone else has done a lot of work on my behalf! Arise Sir Jim Frecklington I suggest.
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

  26. @ Patsy - well I wouldn't have known if I hadn't spotted that perhaps I should look - lucky I did ...

    Patsy - I too would say enough is enough and collops into a garden chair and admire the garden! But the Queen and her Duke are very mindful of duty, still at their age ..

    @ Juliet - Jim Frecklington had incredible foresight ..

    There are Garden Parties at the Palace every year ... and in other outreach places - Sandringham, or this year in Paris at the Ambassador's residence ... so they are not unusual .. and business is business even for the royals ..

    @ Ros - I do admire their spirit - to be 88 and 93 and still going strong is so lucky for us ...

    Interesting about Prince Philip and I'd heard those kind of stories about him from others too - and he says his mind - but so what .. he's almost always right and has much more (much more!!) knowledge than he's given credit for ...

    So pleased he spent time with the youngsters .. that's the important bit ...

    @ Suzanne - it is a great coach of history ... especially with all the elements in it ... and so cleverly done ...

    @ Mason - we certainly have tradition on our side ... but Jim Frecklington's workmanship is quite oustsanding ..

    @ Milo - it's a pretty piece of work .. and covers all possible pomp and circumstance - though there wasn't any mention of an ipod or such like for some suitable music to travel too ..

    But the gold leafing is amazing to see ...

    @ Bazza - well at least you come and read it and comment and for that I'm mighty grateful ...

    From an artist's point of view I was interested in the Jubilee Claret colour paint overlay and the fact it reflects differently depending on the light ...

    I think he should be knighted - I can't quite remember what the protocol is for Commonwealth persons put up for the Honours system ...

    Thanks to you all .. lovely to have some extra comments and thoughts .. cheers Hilary

  27. Some amazing work he's done. The 360 degree coach-cam is funny.

  28. Ah the carriage. So stunning. One of my relatives said they saw it up close and personal once. Can't remember the details. I did watch a fascinating story about the Duke's mother. She had a difficult life, but still stood tall and helped others. Very interesting. I had no idea she was such a courageous woman.

  29. That is a beautiful carriage. I remember reading about the Duke's birthday and the garden party. I didn't realize there was 8,000 in attendance!

  30. Such beautiful craftmanship. Loved the chariot too. I'm sure those 8,000 were only his closest friends and relatives, lol.

  31. The carriages are beautiful. I can't imagine the kind of work and skill that goes into carriage making. Very fairytale-esque. Thank you for the links and hope you are doing well. :)

  32. The craftsmenship for those coaches is amazing.

  33. What an array! Very lovely and so beautifully crafted, all of them. Coachwork of that quality is a rarity anywhere these days.

  34. I don't want to be a rat - but isn't the Victoria Cross 'for valour'? Surely the George Cross is for gallantry?

  35. @ Diane - incredibly workmanship isn't it - and the coach-cam is a delight - I hope she gets to use it!

    @ Joylene - this is a brand new coach "The Diamond Jubilee State Coach" is different to the Gold Coach - that has been on view to the public in the Mews ... the new one I'm sure will on view now ...

    I haven't seen that documentary on Prince Philip's mother .. but am aware that their history was very difficult and challenging .. so look forward at some stage to hearing more ..

    @ Susanne - isn't it just so pretty ... these Garden Parties are put on during the summer months for deserving members of the public, trade institutions and people who have contributed to society, dignitaries and celebrities ... there a lot of people in attendance.

    @ Donna - very clever to be able to dream up such a fantastic concept and create it .. I had to put the chariot in - as I'd never seen it before ...

    ... and yes 8,000 of his closest friends - of course!!!

    @ Elise - just to be able to draw and make something like this carriage - makes me boggle, as it's something I can't conceive ..

    Thanks for your thoughts - all's well here ..

    @ Lynn - the craftmanship is incredible isn't it ..

    @ Val - you'd appreciate their workmanship having owned a few canal boats in your time .. and I'm pleased for him it's gone into the Royal Collection ..

    @ Anne - you are so right .. immediately corrected, thank you ... George Cross for Gallantry and Victoria Cross for Valour ..

    Appreciate you pointing out that error ...

    Cheers to you all - have a lovely week - Hilary

  36. Ten coats of paint!

    My husband loves Edinburgh, it and London are his favorite places to have visited ever.

    I think it's very awesome that the queen has a horse. :)

  37. Just in time, Hilary, to compliment your post. "Why I love the UK," --so much more to write. I did see the documentary about Queen Marie, Prince Phillip's mother--worth seeing again. I am jealous, so want to be in the UK again and stay awhile. Perhaps I can make it happen. Your posts inspire that longing.

  38. Thank you for all these details Hilary! I never get to hear about the Queen now that I live in the US// but having read this, I feel up to date! :)

    I also feel very proud of my fellow Aussie! WOOT WOOT. What a champion! (I love how you added that he is a TRUE Aussie - having emigrated in the 1850's! Good to know he's not a first gen ex-pat!!)

    All the best

  39. There really is a lot of history commemorated in that carriage!

  40. What an impressive celebration! I cannot say that any of my birthdays have had quite that level of fanfare. How about you? Perhaps someday, right? :)

    Thanks so much for sharing the details of this interesting event. It really is something to see the royal family doing so well.

  41. @ Rosie - I know .. my mind boggled at ten coats of paint!! Delighted your hubbie loved his visit to our shores ..

    The Queen has lots of horses - I wrote quite a lot about her horses - the counter-balance to monarchy .. in early June 2013 - should you want to pop over the read.

    @ Nat - thank you .. we do do Ceremony and Pageantry rather well based on all our traditions of history. I think the documentary on Prince Philip's mother must have come out for his 90th .. I expect it'll be shown again.

    Well - it will be lovely to see you over here .. should you be able to make a plan .. so pleased my posts inspire ..

    @ Lena - I like to write occasionally and especially for the big occasions .. which keeps a tab on Royal comings and goings.

    Yes - the Aussie man worked wonders - and he must be so passionate about his life .. his carriages, horses etc etc .. It was interesting to learn he'd emigrated in the 1850s .. I would have thought not many made that journey then ..

    So pleased you enjoyed the post!

    @ Annalisa - yes a story book of history in a carriage ..

    @ Karen - no my birthdays don't belong in those dizzy heights - I'd rather have a few close friends and family around ..

    Glad you enjoyed reading up on the carriage .. and like me to know the senior royals are doing so well ..

    Thanks so much .. typical summer's day here .. cloudy, muggyish with some sunshine later on I hope! Cheers Hilary

  42. Another wonderful post. Love the carriage, although I didn't know that New Zealand was famous for door knobs.

  43. Artistry! Absolutely amazing.

    I wonder if I'd get "looks" riding a golden carriage around the back roads of our county?

  44. Hi Hilary,

    A lot of pomp and pageantry. You are always meticulous in your details and it makes for reading that I would never research. A fascinating insight into the Queen.

    I wonder if I could get a coach like that. I'd bet I get a few perplexed looks. Thank you for this, my kind friend.


  45. It's amazing how active Prince Phillip and the Queen still are. What a gorgeous coach! Every part of the intricate craftsmanship is a piece of history. Hilary, thanks for the lovely photos too!


  46. @ Rhonda - thanks .. I just had to write about it .. and door knobs -oh well add that in to the list of NZ oddities!! Must be the workmanship in creating these door handles - but NZ featured ...

    @ Teresa - the carriage is quite extraordinary isn't it -

    Well riding around your neighbourhood in one of these carriages would set you apart - and on top of that you could spy on everyone with the coach-cam .. I can imagine that .. fun thought!

    @ Gary - good to see you .. and I'm so glad you appreciate the contents. The people of Leek would be totally bemused to see the coach .. and you very proudly sitting in it! Penny beside you .. fun thought ..

    @ Julie - the Queen and Pr Philip are great examples to us all - and they enjoy good health thankfully.

    I just think the whole project is extraordinary .. and how lucky we are to be able to see work like this ... I will get to Buck Pal to see the coach at the Mews - in due course ...

    Thanks to you all - lovely to see everyone .. cheers Hilary

  47. We do get a lot of English news, or in particular Royal news, here in Australia still - so this story definitely made the news here, and Frecklington (cute name!) was the main part of the news.

    Do you know why the birthday is celebrated in June? Was it another Queen's b'day originally? I know we have a public holiday here in Western Australia on June 1st, for the Queen's b'day.

  48. Hi Trisha .. I imagine you get a fair bit of Royal news and that Frecklington's amazing creation would have headlined .. yes I agree cute name (interesting name too) ...

    The Sovereign's birthday has been celebrated since 1748 - when, why or for whom - presumably George II ...

    But it was Edward VII whose birthday was in November changed the ceremony to summer in the hope of good weather ... so now the Sovereign's official birthday falls on the first, second or third Saturday in June (usually not the 3rd) ...

    It is marked by the Trooping of the Colour, which is also known as the Queen's Birthday Parade ...

    Western Australia's date is different from Australia's as whole as Western Australia Day/Foundation Day occur on the first Monday in June ...

    But for more see Wiki: Queen's Official Birthday ..

    In fact the Governor proclaims when the Queen's birthday will be celebrated on each year to tie in with school terms and the Perth Royal Show!!

    Cheers Hilary

  49. I want to go for a ride in that carriage! Would it be terribly bumpy, do you think?

  50. I'd love a golden chariot. Nice.

    Happy Birthday to the Duke and the Queen.

  51. Wow. It is amazing what went into building that carriage and I don't only mean the materials...the use of such important things, like the metalwork from the battlefields are also potent reminders.

    I was very impressed with the detail you gave us in this post. Jim Freckington is an amazing craftsman! I hope you'll also report on his new project when it's completed:~)

    I love watching Royal Ascot and seeing the carriages arrive. Somehow, it's almost feels like stepping back in time. We have a racing station in the States that covers it, but it is EARLY in the morning!

    Another excellent and interesting post, Hilary. Thanks:~)

  52. That coach is just amazing. The details, the artwork, wow! I know the dwarves would go crazy if we had one like that in our treasure. :) Dragon Hugs, Hilary!

  53. Thanks for answering my question(s) so thoroughly :)

  54. @ Crystal - wouldn't it be lovely to be able to have a ride in the coach ... sadly unlikely ever to be!

    Would it be bumpy - no: the wheels - traditionally made of wood, these are cast in longer-lasting-aircraft aluminium by Australian racing car designer, Terry Sainty, and have roller bearings to ensure the smoothest ride ...

    So probably the best ride the Queen has ever had in a carriage ...

    @ Mary - wouldn't it be amazing to ride even in Sydney's golden chariot ..

    I suspect like us - their birthdays pass them by now - except for the odd fanfare!

    @ Sara - thankfully the details were published .. but I just wanted to put some of them down here - because the thought and the historical elements are so fascinating ... a mini history lesson in a carriage ...

    I haven't seen Royal Ascot yet - but I might look today .. I love seeing the carriages arrive. Interesting to know there's an American station that covers the racing at Ascot ... EARLY - time to rise and shine and collapse with some tea or coffee!!

    Glad you enjoyed the post .. thanks ..

    @ Al - I bet your dwarves wouldn't mind polishing this carriage up everyday for Her Maj - let alone Mother Dragon ...

    Thanks Al for coming over ..

    @ Trisha - very happy to answer - I thought it was in an earlier post .. but perhaps I omitted the details ... next year I might remember to put it in a post! But am happy I answered for you ..

    Cheers everyone - today is brilliant clear blue down here on the south coast ... and the Gold Cup race is on at Royal Ascot today .. the Queen, as owner, won last year .... Hilary

  55. It had to have been a labor of love to create such beauty and detail. How much love in someone's heart, and perhaps pride and passion, am always impressed to see. The gold chariot .. so very, very beautiful.

  56. She really is an amazing woman. I can't even count how many Prime Ministers she's had or how many heads of state she's dealt with.

    I didn't realize she spoke "perfect" French, but again she's impressive on all scores.