The Cutest Royal Race: The Sussexes Take the Passenger Seat in Electric Mini-Defenders

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in electric mini-Land Rover Defenders 10 photos
Photo: Twitter / Carly Ledbetter
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in electric mini-Land Rover DefendersThe Duke and Duchess of Sussex in electric mini-Land Rover DefendersThe Duke and Duchess of Sussex in electric mini-Land Rover Defenders1953 Land Rover Series I 86 in, Royal Review Vehicle 'State IV'Day 80 in Commonwealth TourPrincess Margaret in Mauritius and East AfricaLand Rover Series ILand Rover Series IDuke and Duchess of Cambridge in Jamaica
Perhaps the second-most-famous association between a British carmaker and public figure, after Aston Martin and James Bond, is the relationship between Jaguar Land Rover and the Royal Family. That decades-old partnership has just received a massive dose of cuteness.
Land Rover is Queen Elizabeth’s (and was late Prince Phillip’s) carmaker of choice. The Queen occasionally indulges in Bentley or Rolls-Royce, but Land Rover holds a very special place in her heart. As a result, the carmaker isn’t just building custom vehicles fit for royalty (literally), but also takes part in Royal-backed events and charities.

One such event is the Invictus Games, founded by Prince Harry, HRH the Duke of Sussex, as a means to offer veterans their own version of the Olympic Games. This year’s edition is taking place between April 16 and April 22 in The Hague, Netherlands, with the Duke and the Duchess of Sussex serving as hosts. The event includes a Land Rover Challenge, which was prefaced by the cutest kiddie race you’ll likely to see all week.

Video from said race is included below. The cuteness factor is upped by the fact that the Duke and Duchess each jumped in separate rides and, sat in the passenger seat, offered guidance and pep-talk to the young drivers. The cars in question were electric Land Rover Defenders, and the one carrying Prince Harry actually did a bit of offroading, if you're not very strict about the definition of the term.

After the heart-warming segment, Prince Harry rode as passenger in an adult-size Defender, for the adult version of the Challenge. Footage from both segments of the Challenge is included at the bottom of the page.

Given the Sussexes’ controversial exit from the Royal Family in 2020, their latest public appearance is again fueling debates and comparisons to Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge. The mini-Defender race, for one, has drawn sharp comparisons to the “colonialist” imagery evoked by the Cambridges’ ride in the vintage Land Rover the Queen had used in her 1953 Jamaica tour, during their disastrous 3-day tour of the Caribbean.

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Editor's note: Photos in the gallery also show the open-top vintage Land Rover used by the Queen and the Cambridges on their Carribean tours.

About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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