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On September 8, 2022, Buckingham Palace announced the passing of long-reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96. Prior to her unfortunate passing, the queen was never far from two things: her iconic corgis and a custom Bentley limousine she was often seen traveling around in. Pictures of the queen traveling often depict her in a fleet of armored Range Rovers or a stately burgundy Bentley, the latter of which is no doubt the classier option.
The queen's Bentley served a purpose similar to that of the U.S. presidential Cadillac limousine nicknamed The Beast; its job was to transport Elizabeth II to wherever she needed to go safely, quickly, and comfortably. In the same way that the presidential Cadillac is more akin to an armored personnel carrier than a luxury vehicle, the queen's limo isn't your average Bentley.
In light of that, it's not surprising that the Bentley State Limousine was the second most expensive new vehicle in the world when a pair of the cars were given to the queen for her Golden Jubilee in 2002. The special model is estimated to be worth the equivalent of around $11 million, according to The Telegraph. On the outside, the limousine looks a lot like a classic Bentley, but the inside is another story altogether. Looks are very much deceiving in this case, as the limousine was specifically constructed 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's a serious limo that can hold up to all manner of threats from the outside. The Bentley was more than capable of keeping the queen out of danger, whether that danger involved chemical attacks, explosions, or even just spikes intended to puncture the tires. As you'd expect, specific details about the reinforcements are classified by the British government in order to prevent potential attackers from finding a weakness, but according to Bentley, the special vehicle is equipped with Kevlar-reinforced tires, a cabin resistant to blasts, and it more than likely has armor plating in the doors, at least based on how other similar vehicles are reinforced.
That's only the start of the reinforcements and special features, though. The interior, for example, was designed in such a way that it could rapidly be made airtight in order to keep the queen safe from any airborne threats, such as a chemical gas attack. Though more information isn't provided on this aspect of the modifications, Bentley says that it "specially strengthened" the glass and body of the limousine, as well, to help protect it from nearby explosions. The driver would be able to drive away at fast speeds to get away from a threat despite the limo's mods and what is likely a very substantial weight, too. For reference, the aforementioned presential Beast vehicle weighs 20,000 pounds, according to NBC News, and it's reasonable to assume the Bentley is similarly heavy. The special limo wasn't made with only safety in mind, however.
The Bentley was designed for comfort, too
Being a Bentley, it's only natural that the car was very comfortable to ride in, as well, and the comfort was specifically tailored to the needs of the queen herself. When the vehicle was first ordered, the queen had a say in how the interior was designed, the automaker explains on its website — after all, she would spend a lot of time in it. Some of the most distinguishing features include a cabin with ample visibility so that the queen could wave at crowds. As well, the stowage compartment was made to accommodate the queen's favorite handbags in particular, according to Bentley.
The doors are hinged in a way that made it easier for the queen to enter and exit the vehicle, which was also built with a cabin tall enough that she wouldn't have to stoop — something no doubt particularly helpful during her elder years. Beyond that, Bentley also reveals that it made the limousine with a rear seat designed to perfectly fit the queen based on her height.
The back seats are decked out in lambswool and are closer to cushy recliners than a more pedestrian car seat. With its extended wheelbase, there is no shortage of legroom, either. It's no wonder why this vehicle sports its astronomic price tag. With Elizabeth II's passing, the Bentley served its purpose in protecting the queen. If it isn't used to transport the newly crowned King Charles III, the Bentley will likely be retired from the Royal fleet.