Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kate to be transported on gold carriage used by Diana

LONDON, United Kingdom - Prince William and Kate Middleton may be banking on dry weather for their April wedding, but many royal watchers are hoping for rain and the appearance of Diana's famed horse-drawn bridal carriage.

The Glass Coach, which carried William's mother to her 1981 wedding, will only be used in the event of wet weather, with the open-topped gold 1902 State Landau set to be used if conditions are fair.

The carriages will only be used to transport the couple from the wedding venue of Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace after Middleton decided she would arrive for the April 29 service in a Rolls-Royce.

Speaking of the Glass Coach, Martin Oates, senior carriage restorer, said: "It has been used over the years as the bridal carriage.

"This was the carriage that Diana and Sarah Ferguson used to go from Clarence House to their churches.

"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 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. The State Landau was built by Hoopers for Edward VII's coronation.

The responsibility for the coach's appearance rests with Oates, who 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."

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