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 in the centre of the hood.
The Queen and the Royal Family have an obsession with car hood ornaments called car mascots. Each and every one of them has been obtained from our 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 often is our chrome plated bronze Labrador with a pheasant in its mouth. 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.
The 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.
That, and the fact that she’s the freaking Queen mean that she has a massive car collection, estimated at upwards of £10 million, mostly Bentleys, Rolls-Royces, Daimlers, Jaguars and Land Rovers (the Defender is reportedly her favorite one). Many of her vehicles are customized for the Royal Family, with options not available for regular mortals.
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 UK
They’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.
The mascots the Queen favors are not spring-loaded: in fact, you need to bolt them on the hood with screws, which also means you will be left with holes if you change your mind and suddenly decide you don’t want it anymore. Technically, it’s not illegal to have one, but a cop might think so and could interpret the law in this sense, which would result in a fine and a request to have it removed.
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 wants
Since 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 Price 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?