Every couple of years another carrriage from the Royal Mews in The Hague is restored. In the course of years berlines, coupés, landauers and calêches have been brought to a sparkling new state, most of them by the firm Stolk in the village of Balkbrug, in the East of the Netherlands.
Now the eldest and one of the grandest gala-berlines in the collection has been restored. It is the so-called "Glass State Carriage", on this picture
(taken during a rehearsal) you see it in pre-restoration
state. On March 16th 2015 (exactly 200 years after the acceptance of the kingship by Willem I of Orange-Nassau (back then including present-day Belgium and he was also the Grand Duke.of Luxembourg), King Willem-Alexander will review the restored Glass State Carriage.
In 1821 King Willem I ordered the carriage at P. Simons in Brussels. Five years later the carriage was ready. It is a large carriage, in darkblue, lined with a broad cadre of guilded acorn- and laurel leafs. The name is derived from the crystal-glass cover which protects the beautiful but vulnerable ornamental lining under the windows. The interior consists of purple and beige velvet with golden-embroided passements. The seating cushions are filled with horse-hair. The "heaven" of the carriage is made of golden-embroided blue and beige silk.
In precedence the Golden State Carriage
and the Glass State Carriage
are equal. Both are Number One for the most formal ceremonies of state. However the Glass State Coach became very seldom used: after World War II it was only once
used by Queen Juliana, Prince Bernhard and Gösta von Amsberg, Freiin
von dem Bussche-Haddenhausen to travel in the wedding procession of Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus. For the rest it was once a year used for the rehearsal of the procession for Prinsjesdag. This kept the antique carriage rolling.
I hope that now the Golden State Carriage will go into restoration for a couple of years. It can use a fresh layer of sparkling gold
and the interior
can use some restoration too. The Glass State Carriage is less spectacular but soooo beautiful: http://www.hethuisvanoranje.nl/24%20...en%20Koets.jpg
An example of what a new fresh layer of gold can do. These are the Three Graces holding the royal crown
, part of the so-called Crème Calèche.
shows the diffference in the new gold on the restored Crème Calèche
and the old gold on the still to be restored Golden State Carriage, standing next to it... Imagine that the Golden State Carriage will disappear for a couple of years for a restoration and then rolls out on a sunny day, covered in sparkling new gold, wow wow, what a spectacular sight that would be!