Princess Margaret's Longest Serving Rolls-Royce to be Auctioned

Passengers included HM The Queen, Princess Diana and Ronald Reagan

10/05/2021    

Princess Margaret Rolls Royce Silver Wraith II

This 1980 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith II was formerly the property of HRH Princess Margaret for twenty-two years – the longest serving Rolls-Royce with the Princess. It is estimated to sell for £45,000 - £55,000 with H&H Classics at IWM Duxford on May 26th.

The car was supplied new to HRH Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon and tailored to her personal specification. It has a warranted 48,000 miles from new with the vast majority being covered during HRH Princess Margaret's 22-year custodianship It is understood that the car carried many distinguished passengers including Paul Getty, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Lady Diana Spencer (before she married Prince Charles), HM The Queen and Queen Mary, The Queen Mother.

Princess Margaret Exiting her Rolls Royce

Handbuilt to special order, the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith II had a four-inch longer wheelbase than its humbler Silver Shadow II sibling. Beloved of the world’s elite, just 2,135 were made between 1977 and 1980.

Viewing and bidding will be available at the Duxford venue as well as bidding online and by telephone. H&H Classics is delighted that after a year the sale at this venue is very much open and will be welcoming visitors.

HRH Princess Margaret insisted that the upholstery piping on the front and rear seats of this, her final Rolls-Royce, be moved back so that there was no danger of it contacting her neck should she choose to recline at any stage.

The rest of the car’s interior is similarly bespoke with a false floor to the rear, the back seat squab mounted as low as possible (HRH was only 5ft 1in tall), enlarged C-post vanity mirrors, special small spotlights added to each rear cantrail, Green Cloth upholstery throughout (with a loose cover for the driver’s seat), and Black Nuella leather being used to clothe the top and bottom of the dashboard, centre console and door cards. The dashboard itself carried a Matt Rosewood veneer and did without a lock for the glovebox. The latter contained the switch for the roof-mounted Police Escort light and thus needed to be instantly accessible. A centre rear seatbelt was omitted as were armrests to the rear doors and Duchess straps (hardly fitting for a Princess).

Rolls Royce interior

To the exterior, HRH Princess Margaret ordered that chassis LRH0039342 should have opening front quarter lights and its side indicator repeater lights repositioned in the chrome swage line (rather than below it as was standard). The accompanying copy build sheets also note: ‘Silver Wraith II emblem on boot and RR badges on rear quarters are NOT REQUIRED’.

The roof above the windscreen was modified to accommodate a flag mast and illuminated shield. HRH Princess Margaret gave Rolls-Royce less than five months to tailor the Silver Wraith II to her personal specification. Indeed, chassis LRH0039342 had originally been ordered in Moorland Green with Beige leather upholstery by J. Barrett Esq. via Jack Barclay Ltd before Crewe requisitioned it. To meet such a tight deadline many of the unique interior fittings were transferred across from HRH Princess Margaret’s former car, chassis LRH36157, and reconditioned accordingly. Finished in Cardinal Red and initially road registered as ‘3 GXM’, the limousine was delivered to Kensington Palace on 16th May 1980. A warranty card issued the same day lists the purchaser’s name correctly. However, all the way through the order process she had been referred to under the pseudonym ‘Mr Edgar’. HRH Princess Margaret kept her special order Rolls-Royce for twenty-two years; its last official journey being to convey family members to her funeral at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on 15th February 2002.

The Earl of Snowdon David Linley inherited it. Pilloried in the tabloid press at the time for selling off so important an heirloom, Snowdon has since told the vendor that he only did so after offering the car to the Royal Mews. A keen Royalist, Ronald Allwright became the Silver Wraith II’s first registered keeper when he bought it from marque specialist P&A Wood in June 2002. In addition to renewing the Black Everflex roof, fitting a refurbished steering rack and routine maintenance, Mr Allwright also went to great pains to research the Rolls-Royce’s history entering into correspondence with The Right Honourable The Earl of Snowdon and receiving Christmas cards from HRH Princess Margaret’s chauffeur, Dave Griffin.

Silver Wraith

Damian Jones, Head of Sales at H&H Classics comments: “This is a very special, very important and low mileage Silver Wraith II which surely belongs in a museum. It is offered for sale with copy build records, service invoices and a wealth of period photos.”

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