A historic state coach is undergoing painstaking conservation work and is being displayed in honour of the forthcoming coronation of King Charles III.

The Raby state coach, dating back to the early 19th Century, was used by the 9th Baron and Baroness Barnard to attend the coronation of King Edward VII, the current monarch’s great, great grandfather in 1902.

Raby Castle, near Barnard Castle, opened once again to visitors on Wednesday and the coach will take pride of place in the Entrance Hall.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The Raby state coachThe Raby state coach (Image: Sarah Caldecott)

Lord Barnard said: “This restoration of Raby’s state coach marks what is going to be a very exciting year for the castle.

 “We look forward to welcoming visitors old and new to our full programme of activities for 2023, which includes plenty of events to commemorate the coronation year.”

The state coach, originally made for the Duke of Cleveland by Rigby and Robinson of Park Lane, London, will be on show throughout the year.

Local conservators Bob Elsey and Laurie Endean-Olsen will carry out the work, repairing fabrics, removing the residue of discoloured polish and cleaning every inch of the elegant vehicle.

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The family’s state carriage is a rare treasure as, during the conflicts of World War I and World War II, many estates’ carriages were dismantled to garner scrap metal to help the war effort.

It is rare to find a carriage collection in such good condition, and the castle has said this is a ‘spectacular opportunity’ for visiting enthusiasts to see such a special item.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The carriage dates back to the early 19th centuryThe carriage dates back to the early 19th century (Image: Sarah Caldecott)

It is said to be ‘a taste of what is to come’ for the Raby Coronation year.

The 14th century castle was the birthplace of Cecily Neville, the mother of English kings Edward IV and Richard III, in 1415, and has welcomed numerous Royal visitors over the centuries, most recently, from King Charles III when he was Prince of Wales in 1983.

The castle also had two visits from his namesake, Charles I, during his reign, in 1633 and 1639, and it is said that he was greatly struck by Raby.

He is said to have rebuked his host Sir Henry Vane the Elder, who referred to his home as a ‘mere hillock of stone’ by saying: “Call ye that a hillock of stone? By my faith, I have not such another hillock of stones in all my realms.”

Raby Castle will be hosting a series of events for the whole family to enjoy throughout the 2023 season.

There will be everything from Mothers’ Day Castle tours and afternoon tea, to Easter trails through the Plotters’ Forest and Deer Park and Serene Sunday yoga sessions in the grounds.

The Raby Castle annual pass begins from £12.50 per year for children from four to 12-years-old, with family passes starting at £65 (two adults and three children), with benefits including admission to Raby Castle, the Deer Park and High Force Waterfall and 10 per cent off at the Yurt Café and High Force Hotel.

The castle is open until October 29. The Deer Park is open seven days a week, with admission included in a castle ticket. Tickets for the Plotters’ Forest are sold separately.

More information and opening times can be found on the website www.raby.co.uk/raby-castle/