On this day in auto history – April 11th

Sun 11th Apr 2021

It was on this day in 1902 that King Edward VII became the first reigning monarch to travel by car.

The former ‘Playboy Prince’ - who had assumed the monarchy from his mother Queen Victoria a year earlier - was taken for a ride through the New Forest in a 24 hp Daimler by his good friend, the Conservative MP John Scott-Montague, founder of The Car Illustrated magazine.

Scott-Montague later said afterwards: "I distinctly remember His Majesty displayed immense interest in the details of the car.

"And, with his wonderful alertness of mind, he had evidently grasped what a remarkable effect upon the locomotion of the world the coming motor car would have.”

Edward VII would go on to purchase a fleet of expensive Daimler’s and, though he never learned to drive himself, his interest in motor cars is acknowledged by historians to have effectively kick-started the British auto industry by making it fashionable with the ‘smart set’ during what became known as the Edwardian era.