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King's coronation: What is the Gold State Coach and how much is it worth?

The Gold State Coach is over 200 years old. (AP)
The Gold State Coach is over 200 years old. (AP)

The Gold State Coach has been one of the centrepieces of British coronations for more than 200 years and will be used in King Charles's upcoming coronation on 6 May.

The newly-crowned Charles and Camilla will use it to travel back to Buckingham Palace after the service at Westminster Abbey is completed.

The coach will be drawn by eight Windsor Grey horses and because it weighs so much — four tonnes —it will travel at walking pace.

The regal and eye-catching coach has traditionally also been used to transport the monarch to the state opening of parliament and was last seen during the Platinum Jubilee Pageant.

Every single monarch since 1821 has travelled to Westminster Abbey for their coronation but kings and queens have for centuries complained the coach is extremely uncomfortable to travel in.

But Charles is deviating from tradition by opting to head to the sombre religious ceremony in the far more comfortable Diamond Jubilee State Coach, thereby minimising his time in the uncomfortable — but very expensive — Gold State Coach.

How much is the coach worth?

According to the Royal Family's website, the coach was commissioned for £7,562 in 1762, which would be worth over £3.5m now.

No expense was spared for the construction with the highest quality materials imported from around the world.

The main body is made of giltwood, which is covered in a thin layer of gold leaf, while the interior is lined with velvet and satin.

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The Gold State Coach during the Platinum Pageant. (AP)
The Gold State Coach during the Platinum Jubilee Pageant. (AP)

The paintings on the side of the carriage were done by Florentine artist Giovanni Battista Cipriani.

The entire piece is covered in works of art with tributes to Roman gods, Christianity, and the crowns of England, Scotland and Ireland.

It weighs four tons, is almost 9m long and 3.7m high – far larger than similar horse-drawn coaches from the time.

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The Gold State Coach is usually on display at the Royal Mews in Buckingham Palace. (AP)
The Gold State Coach is usually on display at the Royal Mews in Buckingham Palace. (AP)

Due to its historical significance to the UK, it is likely the true value is far higher than the base cost of its materials.

What is the history of the coach?

After it was completed the coach was the main vehicle for monarchs to attend the state opening of parliament until the outbreak of the Second World War.

It has also been used in every coronation since 1821 but despite its enormous cost and opulence, many monarchs have hated riding in it.

King William IV said the ride was like being tossed around in a "rough sea" and Queen Victoria complained about the "distressing oscillation" of the cabin.

A hologram of Queen Elizabeth II was used in the Gold State Coach during the Platinum Jubilee. (AP)
A hologram of Queen Elizabeth II was used in the Gold State Coach during the Platinum Jubilee. (AP)

King George VI found the ride so uncomfortable after his coronation that he had the iron-bound wheels replaced with rubber ones.

Queen Elizabeth II described her coach journey during her 1953 coronation as "horrible".

The gilded coach was last used during the Platinum Jubilee in 2022 when it was fitted with a hologram of Queen Elizabeth in the coach windows.

Due to its great size, age, uncomfortable ride, weight, terrible manoeuvrability and the fact eight horses are needed to pull it along, the coach can only move at a walking pace.