Coventry is welcoming the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today to celebrate our 2021 City of Culture sucess and to open Coventry University’s brand-new Science and Health building, amongst other events.
But it’s not the first royal visit to Coventry and there is a close link with Prince Willliam’s great-grandfather King George VI and Lanchester motor cars.
Before his coronation, the Duke of York was a keen motorist and struck up a friendship with Fred’s brother Frank Lanchester after testing a new car in 1925 which he bought – the first of many Lanchesters he came to own.
He enjoyed driving Lanchesters for his personal use and their ease of control meant that his daughters, Princess Elizabeth and Margaret could drive a 10hp round the royal estates.
In 1935 he ordered two larger limousines for official use and although only Daimler chassis were in production at the time, he insisted on them being Lanchesters, so radiator shells and hubcaps were added to both cars.
They were delivered in February 1936 and a little over a year later the Duke of York was crowned King George VI and Frank Lanchester was able to acquire the Royal Warrant for the Lanchester Motor Company ‘By Appointment Motor Car manufacturers to His Majesty King George VI’.
In 1938 King George travelled to Coventry on an official visit (by royal train to Tile Hill station) and Frank Lanchester (smiling behind the waving King George in the photograph) was chosen to welcome the King to the city.
He escorted King George round the city’s shadow factories that were manufacturing parts for aircraft and military machines ahead of the impending conflict in Europe.
So we hope Prince William and Kate enjoy their day in Coventy as they continue to give the seal of approval to the city that William’s great-grandfather did 80 years ago.