Former UK ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, described how in 2003 Abdullah, the former crown prince of Saudi Arabia and then king, was offered a tour of the queen’s sprawling 20,000-hectare (50,000-acre) estate in Balmoral, Scotland.
The prince agreed. What he didn’t expect was for the queen to get behind the Defender’s wheel and proceed to drive full speed around the estate’s bumpy country roads.
The prince, or so the story goes, implored the queen to concentrate on her driving rather than chatting. It’s difficult to ascribe any motive to the queen’s actions here other than being an active hostess, but it’s tempting to imagine her tweaking the soon-to-be head of a country where women were not allowed to drive at that time.
Most of Britain’s storied automotive brands held a Royal Warrant from the queen, signaling that she did business with the company and allowing them to use the royal coat of arms in their publicity.
But not all.