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The magnificent Gold State Coach is the most magnificent of the British Royal Mews and was last used in on the 7th June 1977 when Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, went in state to St. Paulís Cathedral for a Thanksgiving Service to mark Her Majestyís Silver Jubilee. Before that, it had been used 24 years before, when it took the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to the Coronation at Westminster Abbey and then through London for the Coronation procession. It is highly expected that the magnificent piece of moving art will be used again on the 4th June 2002 for the procession towards St. Paulís Cathedral, where the Queen will attend a National Thanksgiving Service to mark Her Majestyís Golden Jubilee.

It was first used on the 25th November 1762, by King George III, to open Parliament. It had been ordered by the King to replace the older state carriages. The framework of the carriageís body consists of eight palm trees which, branching at their tops, support the roof. The four corner trees, each rising from a lionís head, are loaded with trophies symbolising the victories of Great Britain in the Seven Years War that ended just after the coach was completed. The body is slung by braces covered in morocco leather and ornamented with guilt buckles held by four tritons. The two front figures draw the coach and they proclaim the approach of the Monarch of the Ocean through conches used as horns. The rear figures carry the Imperial fasces topped with tridents.

On the centre of the roof stand three cherubs representing the genii of England, Scotland and Ireland. These support the Royal Crown, and hold in their hands the Sceptre, the Sword of State, and the Ensign of Knighthood respectively. Their bodies are draped with festoons of laurel which fall to the four corners of the roof. Among the many minor features are the driverís footboard in the shape of a large scallop shell ornamented with bunches of reeds; the pole, representing a bundle of lances; the splinter bar composed of a rich moulding issuing from beneath a large voluted shell with each end terminating in a dolphinís head; and the wheels imitated from those of an ancient triumphal car.

The magnificent coach is gilded all over. It is 24 feet long, 8 feet 3 inches wide, and 12 feet high; the pole is 12 feet 4 inches long and the total weight is 4 tons. The harness, originally made by Ringstead, is of rich red morocco leather. The State Coach is adorned on the sides, front and back with panels painted by Giovanni Battista Cipriani, a Florentine historical painter and engraver who came to London in 1755.

The coach has been used for every Coronation since that of King George IV and until recent years was generally used when the sovereign went in person to open the new session of Parliament. Queen Victoria, however, only opened Parliament seven times after the Prince Consortís death in 1861, and she did not use the Gold State Coach. It is thought that in 1977 it was the first time the coach travelled to St. Paulís Cathedral. The coach can only proceed at the walk and not at the trot and it takes eight postillion horses to pull it, since King Edward VII ordered the box to be removed so that it would allow more people to see the sovereigns.

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