The very awkward history of the Rolls that carried Meghan to the altar
Very awkward history of the Rolls-Royce that carried Meghan Markle to her fairytale wedding… so the car an act of tasteless REVENGE by angry courtiers?
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Millions of royal fans watched as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle said ‘I do’ during their fairytale wedding at St George’s Chapel in 2018.
There was much to catch the eye, including the Duchess of Sussex’s minimalist silk Givenchy wedding gown.
But there was something else, too, that was worthy of attention: the Rolls-Royce chosen to take the bride to the ceremony.
Magnificent in its own right, the maroon-coloured Phantom IV transporting Meghan and her mother Doria Ragland from the Cliveden House Hotel to St George’s Chapel had a rather unique history.
As 46 years earlier, it had been used to convey another American divorcee, the Duchess of Windsor, to the funeral of her husband, the Duke, in 1972.
Pictured: Meghan Markle arrives for her wedding to Prince Harry at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018
Pictured: Meghan and her mother, Doria Ragland, driven along the Long Walk in the maroon-coloured Rolls-Royce Phantom IV as they arrive for her wedding ceremony
Pictured: Wallis, centre, is driven to the funeral of her husband, the Duke of Windsor, in 1972
Was there anything significant in the choice? The Duchess of Windsor, a figure at the very heart of the abdication crisis, can hardly have been a welcome comparison.
The Daily Mail’s Sebastian Shakespeare asked if it might be a joke in regrettably bad taste.
And why might courtiers or aides have wished to play such a ‘joke’?
The answer might lie in the widely reported tensions before the wedding itself with Harry and Meghan described as ‘behaving like teenagers’ in Valentine Low’s book Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind The Throne.
Only 18 Phantom IVs were built by Rolls-Royce from 1950 to 1956. Other models are in museums and other public collections.
It had been built and delivered to the Queen in 1950 when she was still Princess Elizabeth.
Pictured: The Duchess of Windsor followed by the Queen Mother at the funeral of her husband the Duke of Windsor, at St Georges’ Chapel, in 1972
Many at the time questioned whether or not the official’s choice was deliberate given the comparisons drawn between the women
The Duchess of Windsor remained a figure of controversy until her death in 1986.
The brief reign of Edward VIII’s came to an end with his abdication in 1936 after being told in no uncertain terms by Stanley Baldwin’s government that he would not be allowed to marry a divorced woman and remain as King.
He made a broadcast saying he could not do the job of the king ‘without the help and support of the woman I love’ – the twice-divorced Wallis Simpson.
The pair married on June 3, 1937, at the Château de Candé in the Loire Valley but no senior members of the Royal Family attended.
They became the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
His departure forced his younger brother, the Duke of York, to step up and become King George VI, creating a family wound that never healed.
The Queen Mother would blame both Duke and Duchess of Windsor for tearing the family apart and driving George VI to an early death.
The Duchess of Windsor leaves St George’s chapel after the funeral of her husband in 1972
Once free from the weight of responsibility, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor led the life of the idle rich.
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