Buckingham Palace announced the death of long-reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II on September 8, 2022, at the age of 96. Prior to her untimely death, the queen was never far from two things: her iconic corgis and a custom Bentley limousine in which she was frequently seen. Pictures of the queen traveling show her in armored Range Rovers or a stately burgundy Bentley, the latter of which is undeniably the more elegant option.
The queen’s Bentley served a similar function to the presidential Cadillac limousine nicknamed The Beast in the United States; its job was to transport Elizabeth II safely, quickly, and comfortably wherever she needed to go. The queen’s limo is not your typical Bentley, just as the presidential Cadillac is more akin to an armored personnel carrier than a luxury vehicle.
Given this, it’s not surprising that the Bentley State Limousine was the world’s second most expensive new vehicle when a pair of them were presented to the Queen for her Golden Jubilee in 2002. According to The Telegraph, the special model is estimated to be worth around $11 million. The limousine appears to be a classic Bentley from the outside, but the inside is a completely different story. In this case, appearances are deceiving, as the limousine was specifically designed to protect its royal passengers from all manner of unusual and dramatic attacks.
A bespoke Bentley fit for royalty
While not as visually intimidating as its American counterpart, it is a serious limo capable of withstanding all manner of outside threats. The Bentley was more than capable of keeping the queen safe, whether the threat was chemical attacks, explosions, or even spikes designed to puncture the tires. The British government has classified specific details about the reinforcements to prevent potential attackers from discovering a weakness, but according to Bentley, the special vehicle is equipped with Kevlar-reinforced tires, a blast-resistant cabin, and armor plating in the doors, based on how other similar vehicles are reinforced.
But that’s just the beginning of the reinforcements and special features. The interior, for example, was designed to be quickly airtight in order to keep the queen safe from any airborne threats, such as a chemical gas attack. Though no additional information is provided on this aspect of the modifications, Bentley claims that it “specially strengthened” the limousine’s glass and body to help protect it from nearby explosions. Despite the limo’s modifications and what is likely a substantial weight, the driver would be able to drive away at high speeds to avoid a threat. According to NBC News, the aforementioned presential Beast vehicle weighs 20,000 pounds.
The Bentley was designed for comfort, too
Being a Bentley, it’s only natural that the car was also very comfortable to ride in, and the comfort was specifically tailored to the queen’s needs. The queen had a say in how the interior was designed when the vehicle was first ordered, the automaker explains on its website — after all, she would be spending a lot of time in it. One of the most notable features is a cabin with ample visibility, allowing the queen to wave to crowds. According to Bentley, the stowage compartment was also designed to accommodate the queen’s favorite handbags.
The doors are hinged in such a way that the queen can easily enter and exit the vehicle, which was also built with a cabin tall enough that she won’t have to stoop — something no doubt especially useful in her senior years. In addition, Bentley reveals that the limousine was built with a rear seat designed to perfectly fit the queen based on her height.
The back seats are upholstered in lambswool and are more akin to cushy recliners than a standard car seat. There is also plenty of legroom thanks to the extended wheelbase. It’s no surprise that this vehicle commands such a high price. With the death of Elizabeth II, the Bentley had served its purpose in protecting the queen. The Bentley will most likely be retired from the Royal fleet if it is not used to transport the newly crowned King Charles III.