Princess Margaret rode in the classic car to meetings with dignitaries including Prime Minister Winston Churchill

By Lanford Beard
June 15, 2021 03:56 PM
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1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Special Brougham by Brewster Princess Margaret
Credit: Dirk de Jager ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Some crown jewels come with V8 engines!

A rare Rolls-Royce Phantom IV limousine built for Princess Margaret is going up for auction at Sotheby's.

Preserved in nearly pristine original condition, the vintage car is one of only 18 Phantom IVs produced between 1950 and 1958 for world leaders and heads of state, and it remains the most difficult Rolls-Royce model to acquire, according to the prestigious auction house.

"It was an automobile built for official use by the Princess in carrying out her duties, and it looked the part," says the Sotheby's release.

Outfitted for the needs of a modern royal, the sleek black limo features power-operated windows and division, a glass roof panel with an electrically operated fabric blind, window shades. During the years when Margaret made use of it, it also featured a blue police light and mounts for the Royal heraldry and flagstaff above the windshield header that has since been removed.

Princess Margaret July 17, 1954
Credit: Bettmann/Getty

Work began on the ultra-exclusive automobile in February 1954, and it was delivered to Margaret that July with a few especially personal touches: a bespoke PM6450 license plate and her personal mascot, a Pegasus, atop the radiator.

1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Special Brougham by Brewster Princess Margaret
Credit: Dirk de Jager ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

And while Margaret's sister Queen Elizabeth has long been known for her adoration of all things equine, it was horse power that excited the younger princess known to many as the "Rebel Royal."

According to Sotheby's, Margaret was "had decided that she would prefer to occasionally drive the Phantom IV herself. Thus, it was fitted with automatic transmission and with a special driver's seat finished in soft cloth, rather than the usual leather, with the ability to adjust the seat for both height and reach."

1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Special Brougham by Brewster Princess Margaret
Credit: Dirk de Jager ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

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Sotheby's notes that the regal Rolls "remained in her use for 13 years and in that time was driven 27,000 miles" - a few of which she racked up from a 1955 dinner with with Prime Minister Churchill at 10 Downing Street.

In more recent years, it has been stationed in nearby Essex, where its owner has supplied it for special occasions, including weddings, and cameo appearances in films.

It's a peak time for followers of Princess Margaret. Fans can also visit Kensington Palace and see a over-the-top ball gown she donned for an 18th century-themed charity ball in 1964 - likely escorted there in the Rolls-Royce Phantom IV.

That fanciful frock and Princess Diana's lavish 1981 wedding gown (25-foot train and all!) are just a few of the pieces included in the Royal Style in the Making exhibit on display in London through January 2, 2022.