Prince Philip: The story behind the Land Rover hearse the Duke of Edinburgh designed to carry his coffin to his funeral

The specially modified Land Rover that will carry Prince Philip's coffin.

A customised Land Rover hearse will be used to transport the Duke of Edinburgh's coffin in a ceremonial procession to his funeral, which he helped to design.

It is a fitting tribute to Philip – the nation's longest-serving consort – who was known for his practical skills and his enduring interest in design and engineering.

The purpose-built Land Rover was specially modified to carry a coffin – in a project that the duke helped with many years ago.

Philip requested it was repainted in a military green and designed the open top rear and special “stops” to secure his coffin in place.

The vehicle was painted a Dark Bronze Green, a colour used for many military Land Rovers.

The polished sturdy, utilitarian vehicle, with its heavy duty wheels and angular structure, stands as a showcase for the duke’s practical nature, and his passion for functional design and engineering.

The vehicle - a modified Land Rover Defender TD5 130 chassis cab - was originally bought in 2003 at Land Rover’s factory in Solihull, the year the Duke turned 82.

The Duke of Edinburgh drives the Queen around the grounds of Windsor in a Land Rover.

The 99-year-old requested the original Belize Green bodywork was switched to Dark Bronze Green, a colour used for many military Land Rovers, and was built on to a galvanised chassis and hand-built rear body.

Philip also designed the open top rear section where his coffin will rest, made to his exact specifications, including the rubber grips on silver metal pins known as the “stops” or “stoppers” which perform the crucial task of preventing the coffin from moving.

Other details on the vehicle include matching green hubs, a black front grille, a single cab and no registration plates.

The duke used Land Rovers throughout his adult life and granted his Royal Warrant to Land Rover over 40 years ago.

The open top rear section is where the Duke's coffin will rest.

The Land Rover will process slowly through the grounds of Windsor Castle ahead of the Duke’s funeral on Saturday at St George’s Chapel.

A bearer party from the Grenadier Guards will place the coffin on the Land Rover at the state entrance of the castle, before the vehicle begins the eight-minute journey – at walking pace – to the west steps of the chapel.

Decades on, the Duke of Edinburgh arrives in a Land Rover at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 2013 Credit: PA

Members of the royal family will walk immediately behind the Land Rover, including the Prince of Wales, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, Prince William, Prince Harry, Peter Philips, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Lawrence and the Earl of Snowdon.

The Land Rover’s poignant role in the funeral proceedings always formed part of Operation Forth Bridge – the codename given to the plans following Philip’s death.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh drive in an open Land Rover through the World Scout Jubilee Jamboree camp in Sutton Park Credit: PA

But before the pandemic, it was planned the vehicle would transport the duke’s coffin from Wellington Arch in central London to Windsor, and travel up the Long Walk, with members of the royal family joining the procession part way and walking through Windsor town centre to the castle.

All public elements of the funeral have been removed - including large-scale processions through London and Windsor - so as not to draw crowds during the coronavirus crisis.

Thierry Bollore, Jaguar Land Rover’s chief executive hailed Philip’s “impressive knowledge and deep interest in vehicle design, engineering and manufacturing”.

“We are deeply privileged to have enjoyed a very long and happy association with the Duke of Edinburgh over many decades,” he said

“We are also honoured that the Land Rover which the duke designed will be used at the funeral on Saturday."

Listen to The Royal Rota podcast: The Duke of Edinburgh's life, legacy and how he will be remembered

A Palace spokesman said: "The duke had a great interest in design so that is where the involvement of the Land Rover comes from.

"The Land Rover was very much part of the original plans as approved by the duke."

A senior Palace official added: "The Duke of Edinburgh had a hand many years ago in the design of these vehicles.”

The official added there were two Land Rovers for "belt and braces".

The Queen and Prince Philip in same iconic Land Rover but years apart.

Following the duke’s death at the age of 99 on Friday, Jaguar Land Rover paid tribute, highlighting Philip’s "significant contribution to UK manufacturing, engineering and design".

The firm said on Twitter: "We are deeply saddened by the passing of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

"Our thoughts are with Her Majesty The Queen & Royal Family. The Duke devoted his life to public service & made a significant contribution to UK manufacturing, engineering & design."