Inside Prince William and Kate Middleton’s surprising car history
PRINCE William and Kate Middleton now have access to some of the world’s best cars, and are often seen getting in and out of Royal Range Rovers.
And while both hold driving licences, neither necessarily have to use them, thanks to servants and chauffeurs who would no doubt drive them wherever they wanted to go.
But the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – one of the most famous couples in the world – are normally photographed driving themselves.
And both have had a surprisingly modest automotive past.
Thanks to Kate Middleton’s upbringing, the Duchess spent her formative years in much more humdrum cars than the Aston Martins and Bentleys associated with her new royal life.
And while Prince William is clearly a “car person”, his automotive interest began with the same humble beginnings as any other British millennial.
Like millions of young people all over Britain, Prince William began his driving career in a Ford Focus.
The young prince was photographed at the wheel of a silver Mk1 following a driving lesson on the Highgrove Estate in 1999.
The Mk1 Ford Focus was an extremely common car in the UK at this time, and it was in this car that Prince William passed his test aged 17.
Clearly a keen driver, Prince William passed his theory test one day after his 17th birthday.
And he passed his practical test after around 20 lessons.
Volkswagen Golf Mk3
Prince Charles is thought to have given Prince William a Volkswagen Golf for his 17th birthday.
Introduced in 1992, this generation of Golf was already out of production by the time Prince William reached driving age.
It’s a sensible first car but not a patch on the Aston Martin DB6 the Queen gave Prince Charles for his 21st.
But Prince William hasn’t always been a sensible driver to match.
It was in a Golf that Prince William landed himself in trouble while driving “too fast” (allegedly) on land belonging to Earl Bathurst.
Volkswagen Golf Mk4
Kate Middleton bought her 1.4-litre petrol Golf before going to university – many years before she became a Duchess.
It was Volkswagen’s replacement for the Mk3, introduced in 1997, though the vehicle registered to “Miss Catherine Middleton” was a 51-plate.
Volkswagen stopped selling this car in the UK in 2003.
It remains a popular car with students and second-hand buyers on a budget.
The 1.4-litre petrol version is a particularly good hatchback and should cost less than £1,000 with reasonable mileage.
Land Rover Series III
Among other Land Rovers past and present, William and Kate have been photographed in a Series III.
It’s a charming relic from Britain’s automotive past, and is believed to have been previously owned by Prince Philip.
Triumph Daytona 600
In addition to cars, Prince William has expressed more than a passing interest in motorbikes.
The Triumph Daytona 600 is quite a serious sports bike, with a 15,000rpm red line and a top speed of over 150mph.
It’s one of the more performance-oriented machines owned by Prince William, whose car history has otherwise been defined by staid practicality.
And since becoming a family man, Prince William has agreed to “tone down” his motorcycling hobby.
Audi RS e-tron GT
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge showed up to the Earthshot Prize awards ceremony in Alexandra Palace in a new all-electric Audi.
The zero-emission RS e-tron GT is one of the pricier EVs on the market, costing from £110,000.
But the electric RS is not the couple’s first Audi. In 2012, they were pictured getting into Prince William’s then-new A7.
The A7 is not the most exciting car that Audi makes, nor is it the most desirable.
But what it lacks in kerb appeal it makes up for in understated refinement.
People wouldn’t look twice at this car on the road in London.
Land Rover Discovery
It would be hard for William and Kate to drive anything other than this upmarket off-roader.
It’s an ultra-British SUV, famed for its go-anywhere capabilities and robust crash safety technology.
And with seven seats, it’s big enough to carry the Duke and Duchess, as well as their three children and family dog.
Aston Martin DB6
Not strictly theirs, but perhaps the car they are most associated with, is Prince William’s father’s Aston Martin.
The vehicle, which was given to Prince Charles by the Queen on his 21st birthday was lent to the pair for their wedding day in 2011.
It has been converted to run on waste products from agricultural processes from the British cheese and wine industries.
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