Facelift for Queen Victoria’s coach in time for spring royal wedding

A BIG-hearted benefactor has funded the restoration of the exterior of Queen Victoria’s historic royal carriage for the first time in 50 years.

Set to last 18 months, the project will involve a complete overhaul of the saloon carriage sides and roof and restoring it fit for a queen.

The benefactor, who has not been named, was said to be a private supporter of the museum, and it is hoped to have the first side finished before the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May.

Prince Charles inspects the interior of his ancestor’s saloon during his visit to the York museum on July 22, 2013 as part of the Mallard 75 celebrations. ROBIN JONES

The carriage was the queen’s favourite and was lavishly finished in teak with precious silks, satin wood and bird’s eye maple inside the carriage. The interior was last restored in 2003 to preserve the delicate fabrics, although the exterior has remained untouched until now.

Helen de Saram, conservator and collections manager at the National Railway Museum, said: “Queen Victoria’s saloon is loved by visitors from all over the world and is undoubtedly one of the museum’s most popular attractions.

“However, despite being well cared for, the years are beginning to show, and cracks were appearing in the panelling, Shellac is peeling and yellowing, and the paint had faded.

“It is very exciting to be able to restore this royal treasure back to its former glory, using a combination of the latest materials and techniques as well as traditional craft skills.

“We are also very grateful to our generous donors, without whom we would not be able to embark on restoration projects of this scale. We plan to finish the first side in time for
the royal wedding.”

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