Did You Know Elizabeth II Was Also England’s Queen of the Road?

·4-min read

As England grieves the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, we reminisce about her love of luxury cars and the open road over the years.

Queen Elizabeth II loved three things: her country, her corgis and pushing fly whips.

Royal protocol, even for a Queen, means chauffeurs were in order for official events, but outside of that, she never turned down an opportunity to get in the driver’s seat. Unlike her royal contemporaries, or the general beau monde, you can find more photos of the Queen peering over the steering wheel rather than quietly sipping champagne in the back.

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As the story goes, Liz caught the need for speed while getting her hands dirty as a driver and mechanic for the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II, and her passion for the road never waned. In 1998, she famously took King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia — traditionally not an ideal place for women drivers — for a spin around her Balmoral Estate in Scotland. The King was reportedly concerned that she was going too fast.

Despite the fact that she never actually received her driver’s license (one of the perks of having the licenses themselves issued in your name), she was easily the most likely member of England’s royal family to have seen all of the Fast & Furious films, even the Dwayne Johnson / Jason Statham buddy cop vehicle, Hobbs & Shaw.

From her Daimlers and Jaguars to her Bentleys and Range Rovers, we dug into the archives for some seriously cool shots of the original Queen of the Road.

May she rest in peace.

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Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) driving an ambulance during her wartime service in the A.T.S. (Auxiliary Territorial Service), 10th April 1945. (Photo by Bryn Colton/Getty Images)
Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) driving an ambulance during her wartime service in the A.T.S. (Auxiliary Territorial Service), 10th April 1945. (Photo by Bryn Colton/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II driving a Daimler saloon car with Prince Charles and Princess Anne as passengers, circa 1957. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II driving a Daimler saloon car with Prince Charles and Princess Anne as passengers, circa 1957. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM – JULY 01: Queen Driving A Vauxhall Estate Car In Windsor Great Park. (exact Date Uncertain).circa 1970s (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM – JULY 01: Queen Driving A Vauxhall Estate Car In Windsor Great Park. (exact Date Uncertain).circa 1970s (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II drives her car away from the Windsor Horse Show in Windsor, Berkshire, UK, 16th May 1982. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II drives her car away from the Windsor Horse Show in Windsor, Berkshire, UK, 16th May 1982. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM – MAY 16: Queen Elizabeth II driving in Windsor Great Park without wearing a seat belt. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM – MAY 16: Queen Elizabeth II driving in Windsor Great Park without wearing a seat belt. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II driving in Windsor Great Park, UK, 16th May 1983. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II driving in Windsor Great Park, UK, 16th May 1983. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM – MAY 16: Queen Elizabeth ll drives her four wheel drive Land Rover during the Royal Windsor Horse Show on May 16, 1992 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM – MAY 16: Queen Elizabeth ll drives her four wheel drive Land Rover during the Royal Windsor Horse Show on May 16, 1992 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
EGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM – JUNE 13: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) HM Queen Elizabeth II drives her Jaguar car as she leaves after watching the the final of the Harcourt Developments Queen’s Cup polo tournament at Guards Polo Club on June 13, 2010 in Egham, England. (Photo by Indigo/Getty Images)
EGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM – JUNE 13: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) HM Queen Elizabeth II drives her Jaguar car as she leaves after watching the the final of the Harcourt Developments Queen’s Cup polo tournament at Guards Polo Club on June 13, 2010 in Egham, England. (Photo by Indigo/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM – MAY 17: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Queen Elizabeth II seen driving her Range Rover car as she watches the International Carriage Driving Grand Prix event on day 4 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show at Home Park on May 17, 2014 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM – MAY 17: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Queen Elizabeth II seen driving her Range Rover car as she watches the International Carriage Driving Grand Prix event on day 4 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show at Home Park on May 17, 2014 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM – MAY 13: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Queen Elizabeth II drives her Range Rover car as she attends day 4 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park on May 13, 2017 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM – MAY 13: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Queen Elizabeth II drives her Range Rover car as she attends day 4 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park on May 13, 2017 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM – JULY 02: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Queen Elizabeth II seen driving her Range Rover car as she attends day 2 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park, Windsor Castle on July 2, 2021 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM – JULY 02: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Queen Elizabeth II seen driving her Range Rover car as she attends day 2 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park, Windsor Castle on July 2, 2021 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM – JULY 02: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Queen Elizabeth II seen driving her Range Rover car as she attends day 2 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park, Windsor Castle on July 2, 2021 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM – JULY 02: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Queen Elizabeth II seen driving her Range Rover car as she attends day 2 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park, Windsor Castle on July 2, 2021 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong