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Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Hat's Too High: France Changes Car For Queen

Officials realise the monarch would not be able to sit up in the back of the president's Citroen without squashing her headwear.

The Queen and President Francois Hollande

The Queen's large hats have led to a hasty change of plan by the French government over what car she should travel in during next week's trip to Normandy.

There have been months of preparations for Her Majesty's official visit to France, as part of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings on June 6.

She had been due to travel in President Francois Hollande's low-roofed official Citroen DS5.

But the Elysee Palace then realised the Queen would not be able to sit upright in the back of the car or the larger C6 model without squashing her headwear.

The presidential fleet does include people carriers that have more space but these were seen as being unfit for the British monarch.
The Renault Vel Satis car of France's President Nicolas Sarkozy is seen in the courtyard of the Elysee palace as part of the garden party celebrating Bastille dayThe Renault Vel Satis car that ex-president Sarkozy used

As a result, the Elysee Palace has now chosen a Renault Vel Satis which had been mothballed.

It is 62.2 inches high - 2.6 inches taller than the 'compact executive' DS5.

The Vel Satis was a commercial failure for Renault and production was halted in 2009 after just seven years.

The model provided for the Queen is an armoured 3.5-litre V6.

Mr Hollande had picked the mid-size DS5 model as a symbol of his "normal" presidency to counter the flashy image of predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy.

The president first travelled in the car for his 2012 inauguration where he was soaked on an embarrassing open-topped drive up the Champs Elysee.

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