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12 Jun 2018

BY DR CLIVE FRASER

It’s been a few weeks now since Meghan Markle and Prince Harry exchanged vows.

Debate about the monarchy aside, I have got to say that there were many memorable moments for me from the Royal Wedding.

While Meghan’s smile shone so brightly, I must admit that seeing her proud mother alone in the pews also brought tears to my eyes.

As did the Kingdom Choir’s rendition of Stand By Me.

How appropriate it was to have a hymn written in 1905 by the son of a slave sung in St George’s Chapel.

And though Ben E. King popularised the song and John Lennon reprised it, I don’t think there will ever be a better version than the Kingdom Choir’s.

To declare to the world that they “won’t be afraid” may be useful for two young people who face a life-time of scrutiny from the world’s press.

Another magic moment for me was the sight of the Royal Wedding cars ferrying the wedding party.

In particular the arrival of Meghan and her mother in a 1950 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV.

This was the Queen’s first Rolls-Royce and the first of 18 Phantom IVs produced between 1950 and 1956.

Under the hood was a 5.7 litre straight 8 originally matched to a four speed manual gearbox.

When originally delivered to the then Princess Elizabeth, it was Valentine Green with a red stripe.

But it was re-painted in Royal Claret and Black in 1952 when it became a State car.

In 1955, the gearbox was changed to a four speed automatic and along the way cloth seats replaced the leather.

Unlike other Rolls-Royce, the Queen’s Phantom IV has a kneeling Spirit of Ecstasy on top of the radiator and this mascot is replaced with a lion whenever the car is used in Scotland.

HJ Mulliner & Co of West London built the body, which is just under 5.8 metres long, 2.0 metres wide and 1.9 metres high.

With imposing dimensions like these the Phantom IV would always have a majestic presence.

And if one Phantom IV is never enough, the Queen also had another, as did three other members of the Royal Family.

Three other Phantom IVs were bought by General Franco of Spain and the rest all found homes in the Middle East.

It says a lot about Rolls-Royce that after 68 years the Phantom IV is still a magnificent vehicle.

But as befits a wedding, Meghan (and her Mum) still stole the show.

Safe motoring,
Doctor Clive Fraser
doctorclivefraser@hotmail.com


Published: 12 Jun 2018