Some 19 years ago, I was in central London, walking through an area not usually open to the public – and it was hard to miss the sparkling new Land Rover Defender parked away from prying eyes. Not just because it looked factory fresh but also because it was a good few feet longer than even a 110.

The third side door was a giveaway that this was a custom-built shooting brake, designed to carry as many as 10 people onto the mountainside for shooting or culling.

I was later told - and I can’t fully confirm this for obvious reasons - that the stretched Land Rover was actually a 21st birthday present for Prince William. I imagine it's living up in Scotland even now and looking rather less shiny.

I suppose I was surprised that the now Prince of Wales didn’t have something smarter or more luxurious for driving off-road. 

But that would miss the point altogether. There’s nothing more authentic than an original Land Rover. And there’s nothing more authentic than encouraging - or allowing – it to fade, crack, absorb a few dents and generally weather nicely.

I must admit to being baffled by the original Landie – the tiny, cramped cockpit, with a driver’s seat that won’t remotely move far enough back and having to drive with my right elbow out of the window.

I know the country set won’t buy it, but I would be much happier in the new Defender. Luxury, as somebody very clever once said, is really the removal of irritation, and the old Landie irritated me. Using a broken stick to hold the door closed might make for a cool photo, but that would irritate me. Leaking windscreens would irritate me.

Sure, I drove a late-model original Defender on a Land Rover off-road course and it was magnificent - or at least it massively flattered my off-road driving, which is essentially the same thing. 

This new special edition might annoy the wet-feet-and-rattling-teeth brigade, but the new Defender would get me across any terrain and smoothly to Geneva in time for drinks. Definitely not irritating.