From mechanic to motoring monarch: Queen Elizabeth II spent her life behind the steering wheel
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Queen Elizabeth II never had to drive a day in her life, but she did it as much as she could.
The late monarch’s fondness for motoring began when, as princess, she volunteered to join the Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War 2 at age 19 and trained to become a mechanic and driver.
She was the first female member of the royal family to serve full time in the armed forces, putting in a full day at the military facility before returning to Windsor Castle at night.
Her studies included mechanics theory, map reading, and she learned how to maintain and drive heavy trucks, according to the Imperial War Museum.
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The British press gave her the nickname “Princess Auto Mechanic” and often photographed and filmed her servicing and driving military vehicles.
Even after becoming Queen, she never fully relinquished the driver’s seat.
She was frequently seen chaffering family and friends the seven miles between Windsor and the Ascot Racecourse for the annual Royal Ascot event.
Her car collection was largely British, and included vehicles from most of the domestic brands, including Daimler and Vauxhall.
Many of the major automakers sent their condolences after her passing on Thursday, including Jaguar Land Roverwhich made some of her favorite vehicles.
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“The passing of Her Majesty The Queen has left everybody at Jaguar Land Rover deeply saddened, and our thoughts and condolences are with the Royal Family at this time,” the company wrote.
Along with her trips to the races, Elizabeth regularly drove her Land Rover Defenders and Range Rovers around the royal estates with her corgis and Labradors along for the ride.
Several of the vehicles were even fitted with custom hood ornaments made by Louis Lejeune designed to look like the dogs.
She was said to be known to diagnose and repair faulty engines into her 90s, the National World War 2 Museum reported.
Elizabeth last drove to the Royal Ascot in 2021 and was photographed behind the wheel of a Jaguar X-Type wagon at Windsor in November, but was driven to the races this year.
The motorized vehicle that will carry her coffin during her funeral has not yet been revealed, but her mother’s was driven through Windsor in a Jaguar hearse built by Wilcox Limousines in 2002.
Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip, helped design his own hearse, which was based on a Land Rover Defender.
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He reportedly once asked Elizabeth to “just stick me in the back of a Land Rover and drive me to Windsor,” and very much got his wish.
FOX News’ Ken Martin contributed to this report.