When Queen Elizabeth II was our "Princess Auto Mechanic"
As we celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, we thought we would have a look back at the Queen's history before assuming her regal responsibilities in 1952, as a mechanic and driver for the war effort and her love of Land Rover and Range Rovers through the years.
The Queen commands enormous respect, and deservedly so, for the many notable things she has done over the years for her country. However, many are surprised when they learn about the Queen's role as a mechanic almost 80 years ago!
In early 1945 during World War II, at 19 years old, she convinced King George VI to allow her to join the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) . Her father the King, decreed that she was to be given no special rank or privilege. Later, she earned a promotion to Junior Commander. The British monarchy has a long tradition of military service, but the then Princess Elizabeth become the first female member of the Royal family to be an active member of the British Armed Forces. She become honorary Second Subaltern, but the newspapers affectionately called her "Princess Auto Mechanic"!
She had six weeks training as an Auto Mechanic in Aldershot, Surrey. This included driving trucks and ambulances as well as carrying out vehicle maintenance and repairs. She also learnt how to deconstruct and rebuild engines.
Queen Elizabeth has been known to have used the practical vehicle repair skills she learnt throughout her life to diagnose car troubles.
In the image above, the then Princess Elizabeth shows her mother how she has been getting her hands dirty fixing this vehicle. A magazine at the time reported that “one of her major joys was to get dirt under her nails and grease stains on her hands, and display these signs of labor to her friends.”
The Land Rover Defender have been a staple in the Queen's vehicle collection for decades and she is believed to have owned over 30 Land Rovers over the years. The Royal relationship with Land Rover goes back as far as 1948. From ceremonial events to travelling around her country estates, she's been pictured at the wheel, often with her trademark headscarf, countless times.
The Queen is the only person in the UK who could drive without a license, however, Queen Elizabeth gained her driver’s license when she served as a mechanic and driver during World War II.
The Queen has always been a fan of Land Rovers and has often been seen driving a Range Rover well into her 90s!
We thank Queen Elizabeth II for her 70 years of service and dedication.
We hope that you all have chance to enjoy the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations!