Queen Elizabeth II was a military truck driver, mechanic, and motoring monarch

Queen Elizabeth behind the wheel of her Range Rover in July, 2021. Getty Images

Tributes have been paid to Queen Elizabeth II, after she died aged 96, passing away peacefully at Balmoral Castle on Thursday afternoon.

The flag was lowered to half mast and a formal notice was placed on the railings of Buckingham Palace, reading, ‘The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.’

The Queen, who was a keen motorist and first took an interest in vehicles when she served (as Princess Elizabeth) as an honorary “second subaltern” in the Auxiliary Territorial Army, and worked as a truck driver and mechanic in 1945, aged just 18.

queen elizabeth changing car wheel 1945
Future queen Elizabeth II of England, learning how to change a car wheel as an auxiliary-officer of the English Army, circa 1945. Roger Viollet via Getty Images

The Queen never had to hold a passport or driving license, yet enjoyed driving and was known for being prudent with cars in the royal household, keeping them on the road for as long as possible before changing for a newer model.

Motor sport organizations, Formula 1 teams, car companies, actors, television presenters black cab drivers and former members of the royal household have paid tribute to the Queen, whose death ends the longest reign in the history of the United Kingdom.

King Charles III will be the oldest person to take on the crown at age 73. He released this statement about his mother’s passing today, through Buckingham Palace, saying:

“The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of great sadness for me and all members of my family. We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”

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Queen Elizabeth II driving her children Prince Charles and Princess Anne, 1957 Corbis via Getty Images
queen elizabeth driving 1958
Queen Elizabeth II attends a polo match in August of 1958. Getty Images

Prime Minister Liz Truss said, “Today the Crown passes, as it has done for more than a thousand years, to our new monarch, our new head of state, His Majesty King Charles III … With the King’s family we mourn the loss of his mother and come together … We offer him our loyalty and devotion, just as his mother devoted so much to us for so long.”

Tomorrow morning, Charles will be formally proclaimed King, which will be followed by a trumpet fanfare announcing the reading of the proclamation. During the reading, a 41-gun salute will be fired by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, in Hyde Park.

Books of condolence will be opened at St James’s Palace, the Queen’s Gallery (next to Buckingham Palace), Windsor Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Balmoral, and Sandringham in Norfolk. Over the following days, the coffin will be taken to the Palace of Westminster, for the lying in state, a five day period during which time the public will have an opportunity to pay their respects.

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Queen Elizabeth II in May, 1982. Getty Images

The Queen’s funeral is expected to take place on the tenth day, at Westminster Abbey, before the coffin is taken to Windsor to be placed in the royal vault. We’ll have more in the days to come, but for now these are just some of the tributes paid by those from the automotive community.

Jeremy Clarkson:

Marino Franchitti


Caterham Cars:

Via Hagerty UK

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