North American Articles: The LogBook
From: The LogBook, Summer 2016, Vol 19, No.2.
MG And The British Royal Family: Richard Miller
Britain’s longest reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating her 90th birthday year and her “official” birthday is always observed in mid June. Her actual birthday was on April 21 but tradition sets the “official” birthday and its pomp and pageantry at a time when better weather might be expected. During this year long celebration you will see members of Britain’s Royal Family riding in vehicles from automotive marques like Bentley, Jaguar, Land Rover or Rolls Royce. What you may not realize is that MG also has a history with the last three generations of the House of Windsor. On April 23rd at the Chippenham Auction Rooms a rare handwritten letter, written in 1947 by the then 21 year old Princess Elizabeth, was sold for US$ 20,880. It revealed how Prince Phillip’s MG TC played a role in his courtship of the future queen. The letter was sent to Betty Shew who was writing the official souvenir book called, “The Royal Wedding”. In her letter Princess Elizabeth recalled how the young couple drove each other around London and were at one point even chased by photographers. The princess remembered, “Philip enjoys driving and does it fast! He has his own tiny M.G. which he is very proud of-he has taken me about in it, once up to London, which was great fun, only it was like sitting on the road, and the wheels are almost as high as one’s head. On one and only one occasion we were chased by a photographer which was disappointing.” The sentiments of the royal princess, on the TC, are familiar to many others over the years. Sadly, there is no contemporary record of what may have happened to this black with green upholstery royal TC (registration plate XHD 99) or if it exists to this day.
Just after Prince Philip’s and Queen Elizabeth’s oldest child Charles turned 18 he was given a 1967 Mineral Blue MGC-GT. The car has wire wheels, an electronic aerial and special steering wheel (registration plate SGY 766F). This car, following a full restoration, is still in the royal automotive collection at the Sandringham estate in the UK. It is frequently loaned out to various auto museums in the UK for public display. When Prince William turned 17 his father Prince Charles gave the car to his eldest son for his use. In more recent times Prince Philip agreed to presided over the April 2009 celebration of MG’s 85th birthday, held at Windsor Castle, when 250 MG’s of every model produced by the company paraded past the royal consort. All of the funds raised at this event, sponsored by MG Motor UK, went to The Prince Philip Charitable Trust.