STUTTGART/COBURG – This year the town of Coburg in Bavaria, Germany, is sending a beautiful, specially grown fir tree to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. The tree will help to create a stylish and festive ambience at Windsor Castle where the monarch traditionally celebrates Christmas.
- From Coburg to Windsor Castle: Mercedes-Benz CharterWay delivering a stylish festive ambience all the way from Germany
- Present for Her Majesty: The British royal family’s Christmas celebrations include a magnificent fir tree from the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha family’s forest
- 2000 Christmas baubles and glass ornaments from Lauscha, a town famed for its glassblowing
- Special transport with Mercedes-Benz Actros
Following an official send-off from the Albertsplatz square in Coburg on 12 November 2016, Mercedes-Benz CharterWay transported the royal Christmas tree via the Belgian town of Oudenaarde (with which Coburg is twinned) to Windsor Castle, where the load arrived during the late afternoon on 15 November.
The 12-metre tall fir tree is set to be positioned outside the royal residence today and sumptuously decorated. On 19 November 2016, the Christmas tree will become visible from far and wide for the first time when it is illuminated at the traditional switching on of the Christmas lights at Windsor Castle. With the royal residence as the backdrop, this will create a stately pre-Christmas atmosphere as well as spreading festive cheer.
Taking the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz Actros 1845 LS alongside haulage operator Christoph Hofmann from Bad Rodach near Coburg is Christian Schleicher, who is responsible for marketing communications for the Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles sales department in Bavaria.
“It is a great honour for CharterWay to be permitted to transport this precious load comprising the tree itself and 2000 handmade Christmas baubles,” he stated.
Christmas baubles and glass ornaments have been provided by workshops in Lauscha/Thuringia, a town which is internationally renowned for its glassblowing. Some of the mouth-blown golden baubles bear the town crest of Coburg, others the crest of the Sonneberg district in the federal state of Thuringia. The fir tree comes from the forest owned by the ducal House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Prince Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duke of Saxony and great-great grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II, is the most famous son of the town of Coburg.
Known as Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria was granted the title of Prince Consort in 1857 and is credited with having introduced the tradition of a Christmas tree into England in 1848. Due to this historical tie, the ducal family resident in Coburg have offered the British royal family a present of a Christmas tree from their forest.
On the one hand, the Christmas tree from Coburg, which made its journey to Windsor Castle in November 2016, symbolises the historical link with the British royal family. The town of Coburg also wished to make reference to the anniversary in 2018 of the British tradition of having a Christmas tree and the festivities to mark the 200th birthday of Prince Albert in 2019.
“Coburg approached us due to our many years of contact with the Callenberg Forest managed by the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha family estate,” says Schleicher. “We have ourselves been selecting and felling beautiful trees from there for years now for the showrooms of our company-owned sales and service outlets, with Christoph Hofmann acting as intermediary. This activity is well-known and so we’ve been tasked by the town of Coburg with organising and transporting the royal Christmas decorations from Coburg to Windsor Castle.”
The shipment required specialist expertise and equipment: The imposing royal tree is 12 metres long. It weighs around two tonnes and is up to four metres in diameter. The total volume of 54 m³ is the equivalent of approximately 26 Europallets each containing 64 beverage crates – thus a total of 1664 crates. There were also around 100 cardboard boxes of 60x40x40 cm in size, which contain the royal Christmas baubles, and a separate 120x30x30 cm box containing the decoration that will top the tree.
To transport the tree, Mercedes-Benz CharterWay used a tri-axle curtainsider semitrailer with sliding soft top. This is because the items needed to be loaded and unloaded from the top and sides with a crane and timber forwarder. The branches were tied together using tensioning straps to a maximum width of 2.5 metres. The fragile glass baubles were packed in cardboard boxes and safely stored.
Painted in festive silver, the tractor unit is a Mercedes-Benz Actros 1845 LS with a second-generation OM 471 diesel engine delivering an output of 330 kW (449 hp). It has a BigSpace L cab with a level floor. The equipment includes Predictive Powertrain Control, cruise control, ESP and Active Brake Assist 3, as well as a large number of safety assistance systems such as Lane Keeping Assist, Attention Assist and Proximity Control Assist. To facilitate routing and ensure a safe arrival, an on-board unit provides FleetBoard telematics support.