Another interesting takeaway from the outing is that the Queen seems to have someone mount a very special type of ornament on the hood of the car. It’s not even fitted in the front part of the hood, as was customary with older models of Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce or Jaguar, but smack in the middle of the hood.
We did some digging and it turns out that both the Queen and the Royal Family have a strange obsession with this type of car ornaments. They’re called car mascots and the entire fam gets them from a foundry in England called Louis LeJeune.
The foundry was set up in 1910, when it went by a slightly different name, AE Lejeune (AEL). In 1933, it was renamed to Louis LeJeune and it has been in business ever since.
The mascot spotted more recently is a bronze Labrador with a pheasant in its mouth. Which makes sense. The second thing the Queen is famous for after her love of cars is her love of dogs, Corgis and Labradors in particular. With a chrome finish, the ornament is placed on the hood and can be changed with another mascot from HM’s impressive collection, should she desire it.
An impressive car collection and a mascot collection to matchThe Queen learned to drive when she was 19, and she has training as a mechanic. Word is that, while she’s supposed to be chauffeured around at all times, she prefers the independence of driving herself, so she often breaks the rule. She mostly does it on private land, though, and not during state business appearances and / or on public roads.
The car mascots, on the other hand, can be had by those same mortals, thanks to that foundry in England, which sells a wide variety of them, from their iconic Speed Nymph to actual car badges. The Queen has been photographed with a handful of models, including a Britannia mascot on a Rolls and the Saint George slaying the dragon on her Bentley State Limousine. Prince Charles, for instance, has a polo player on one of his vehicles.
Car mascots are not exactly legal in the UKThey’re not illegal, either. However, installing one on your car hood is in a gray legal zone where interpretation of the law falls on the police officer pulling you over or the judge presiding your case.
Decades ago, it was ruled that cars shouldn’t have ornaments that would impair visibility or present a potential danger to pedestrians, in case of an impact. Some car marques chose to replace their fixed mascots with spring-loaded ornaments that either fold or retire within in an accident, thus reducing the risk of further injury to a victim.
If you’re in an accident and you cause extra injury with the mascot, you could be looking at a civil suit for installing it on the hood.
The Queen can do basically whatever she wantsSince we’re on the topic of lawfulness, we should start off by saying that HM was on private land when she was photographed with the Labrador-carrying Range Rover.
Even if she weren’t on private property, she would have still been able to break the law. Because she is the Queen.
Her Majesty is exempt from the law governing the roads, which means she is the only person in the UK able to drive without ever having had a driver’s license issued, without a seatbelt or without paying heed to speed limits. The lack of a seatbelt was widely discussed at the time of Prince Philip’s crash in January 2019, and the reason given for not using one is this: royals have to be able to exit a car in a blink of an eye in emergency situations, and a seatbelt fastened across their body would increase response times.
For fun, we should also note that the Queen is the only one in the UK who can legally eat swan (and she owns all of them on Thames), who doesn’t have to pay taxes (but she does it either way), and that she owns all the dolphins in the waters around the country. How’s that for royal perks?
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HM the Queen driving Prince Philip through Sandringham in her Range Rover complete with Lejeune labrador mascot. Who cares if she's not wearing a seatbelt. H/t Daily Mail for the photo. #queen #rangerover #princephilip #louislejeune #lejeune #carmascot #caraccessories #hoodornament #hoodornaments #chrome #kühlerfigur #kühlerfiguren