Unless you were on another planet this past May, you would have been aware there was a wedding on – and not just any old wedding. In the unlikely event you missed it, Prince Harry tied the knot with Meghan Markle on 19 May. At the time, it felt like the photos, stories, analysis and gossip from the wedding were going fill not just the women’s mags, but our newspapers, TV screens and news feeds for months.
If you’re thinking there’s no reason to mention this occasion in a car magazine, normally you’d be right, but when that very British car brand Mini (even if it is owned by Germans nowadays) decided to do their bit in acknowledging a very British wedding by building a bespoke Mini, it’s worth a look.
Mini’s “royal” version of their hatch model didn’t go to Harry and Meghan per se, but it was donated to one of the happy couple’s chosen charities, specifically the Children’s HIV Association, who will auction the car sometime in the future as a fundraiser. “As an iconic British brand with almost 60 years of history in the UK, we are pleased to mark the royal wedding with this special charitable gift,” explained Oliver Heilmer, Head of MINI Design, prior to the nuptials.
The royal Mini is largely an exercise in style and detail, rather than radical mechanical or body changes, with the use of modern graphics and colours reflecting what is a very “new millennium” royal couple. “Its specially designed roof graphic combines with 3D-printed personalised interior and exterior details as well as special embroidery, to make this a MINI like no other,” Heilmer says.
The Exterior. Crystal White paint is accented with subtle silver-blue accent stripes on the bonnet and rear quarters that lend the body a distinctive look, says Mini. The major change, though, is on the roof. The bonnet’s off-centre stripes are continued in white on the roof panel, combining with elements of overlapping red, blue and white to suggest the flags of the wedded couple – the British Union Jack for Harry and America’s Stars & Stripes for Meghan – all of which were meticulously applied by hand.
Chrome trim on the radiator grille, door handles and lighting trim rings feature a blue-black tinted clear coat, while the black band that circles the body at the window line has been given a blue-tinted matt silver paint finish, bringing “modernity and a freshness of detail,” according to Mini. At the rear, the tail lights add a partial Union Jack design seen on other production Minis, with this motif continued on the alloy wheels that combine machined faces with inset sections painted in matt metallic dark-blue.
The finishing touch outside is a pair of 3D-printed caps for the side indicators, which carry the initials ‘M’ and ‘H’ with a heart and rings. Finally, when each door is opened, the side mirrors project a “Just Married” welcome onto the ground. The 3D-printed parts and projector mirrors on this car are part of a new initiative by Mini and their ‘Mini Yours Customised’ programme, which allows customers in selected markets to add 3D-printed side scuttles, door sill plates and individual light projection to create their own one-off.
The Interior. Heilmer and the Mini design team continued the blue-black tint from the exterior detailing onto selected interior chrome elements, while Satellite Grey leather was selected for the seats. The “mixed flag” graphic of the roof is carried over inside, applied to each door’s trim strip, behind the steering wheel and into the head restraints.
On the latter, there is an abstract take on the Union Jack on one side and a Stars & Stripes perforation and stitching on the other. The large trim strip ahead of the front passenger seat carries the first names of the bride and groom, plus the wedding date and good wishes to the newlyweds. Finally, the door sill plates feature a gloss black finish and carry the combined US and British flags, as well as a ‘Mini Loves You’ slogan.