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June 2006
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The Glass Coach The Glass Coach waits to transport Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother from Westminster Abbey on the day of The Queen's Coronation in 1953
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Q: Marie - Scotland
I have read that there is a 'glass coach' in the Royal Mews. I imagine it must be very beautiful. Is it entirely made of glass? Can you show me a picture?

The Glass Coach is not made entirely from glass, but rather takes its name from the large windows which enable spectators to view the passengers.

It was built in 1881 by Peters and Sons as a town coach for the Lord Mayor of London before being purchased for King George V's coronation in 1911. It has been used for most royal weddings since then and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother travelled in it for The Queen's coronation in 1953.

Q: Nancy - USA
Has The Queen ever received debutantes? I know that this was a tradition in the early part of the twentieth century, but wondered if it had died out before The Queen's reign.

'Presentation parties' at which couples were invited to present their unmarried daughters or 'debutantes' to the Monarch as a rite of passage and a symbol of social standing, took place until 1958, six years into The Queen's reign.

The decision was made to discontinue these parties for a number of reasons. The Royal Household was receiving more and more applications to attend, and the number of requests could not be accommodated. Also, there was no equivalent event for young men. It was also felt that the tradition did not provide for the newcomers to the country, for example immigrants from Commonwealth countries.

Instead of presentation parties, additional Garden Parties were held each year, meaning that more people could be invited to Royal residences than ever before.

Q: Munroe - Hertfordshire
The Queen has only failed to attend Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph on a few occasions during her reign. I know that she was pregnant for at least one of these. What were her reasons for not attending on other occasions?

The Queen has laid a wreath at the Cenotaph on Whitehall for all but five years of her reign. In 1959 she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and in 1963 she was pregnant with Prince Edward. Her other absences were due to overseas visits: Ghana in 1961, Brazil in 1968 and Kenya in 1983 (where she attended a similar service of Remembrance).

Q: Maria - Kinloss
I am a bit of a sailing fanatic and would like to get hold of the particulars of Britannia, like her size and her maximum speed. Can you help?

Below are some figures relating to H.M. yacht Britannia:

Length overall: 413 feet
Beam: 53 feet
Maximum draft: 17 feet
Maximum speed: 22 knots
Endurance: 2000 miles at 20 knots

Q: Marcus - Uxbridge
I would like to buy the official souvenir book for The Queen's 80th birthday. Is it available to buy yet?

'Queen Elizabeth II: A Birthday Souvenir Album' is now available to buy from Royal Collection shops and all good bookshops priced £9.99. Alternatively, you can order a copy on the Royal Collection web site bu following the link at the bottom of the page.

Organised year-by-year, from 1926 to 2006, each page tells a story from The Queen's life. The book includes photographs of items which have never been seen before such as Her Majesty's toys and first saddle, her ration books and identity card.

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