Why Prince Philip Will Be Carried to His Funeral in a Customized Land Rover
It "was designed and custom-made to the duke's specification," Buckingham Palace said
Although Prince Philip's funeral arrangements have been revised amid the ongoing pandemic, several of his personal wishes have been implemented — including his desire to be carried in a Land Rover.
During the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral procession on Saturday, his coffin will be carried on a customized Land Rover – something that the keen designer took a leading role in modifying.
It "was designed and custom-made to the duke's specification," Buckingham Palace said.
The royal had a lifelong love for the British-made vehicle, which reflected his interest in engineering and technology. A member of the public even left a toy Land Rover among the flowers and condolence letters placed near Buckingham Palace following Philip's death.
Instead of the usual hearse, Philip wanted his body to be taken to St. George's Chapel in a modified Land Rover. According to the palace, he started on the design with the car manufacturing company 18 years ago. Based on a Land Rover Defender TD 130, the vehicle was modified with an open-top rear section based on Philip's specifications. It was also painted dark bronze green (per the duke's instructions), which is the same color the British military uses for many of its Land Rovers.
"We are deeply privileged to have enjoyed a very long and happy association with The Duke of Edinburgh over many decades," Thierry Bolloré, Jaguar Land Rover's chief executive said in a statement released by Buckingham Palace. "We are also honored that the Land Rover which the duke designed will be used at the funeral on Saturday."
Speaking to parliament on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was fitting that Philip would be taken to his funeral in the British-made vehicle.
"That vehicle's unique and idiosyncratic silhouette reminds the world that he was above all a practical man, who could take something very traditional – whether a machine or indeed a great national institution – and find a way by his own ingenuity to improve it, to adapt it for the 20th or the 21st century," Johnson said.
Prince Philip voluntarily gave up his driver's license at the age of 97 in 2019 following a car crash. Philip walked away from the accident uninjured after flipping his Land Rover following a collision with another vehicle that left a woman with a broken arm.
Queen Elizabeth and members of the royal family will gather to honor the life and legacy of Prince Philip at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle tomorrow.
"The Duke of Edinburgh was closely involved in the planning of his own funeral. As a result, tomorrow's ceremony will involve a number of unique touches which reflect his life and work," a statement read on the royal family's official Instagram page on Friday. "Many of the moments choreographed by The Duke demonstrate his lifelong commitment to the Armed Forces."
Listen below to the episode of our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day for more details on Prince Philip's funeral.
His coffin will be carried by both the Grenadier Guards and the Royal Marines. The Land Rover will also be driven by soldiers from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, of which Philip was Colonel-in-Chief.