Queen Elizabeth II’s death last week brought a wave of condolences from around the world. It also swiftly set into motion a carefully choreographed series of funeral procedures, steeped in royal protocol and centuries of British history. Over the next six days, the Queen’s flower-draped casket will embark on one final tour of the United Kingdom—a journey that began at Balmoral, her private residence in Aberdeenshire, Scotland—pausing in London on Monday morning for the Queen’s State Funeral at Westminster Abbey, where some of the most famous names in British royal history have been interred. But Westminster will not be the Queen’s final resting place; she will be buried amid generations of royals at St. George’s Chapel, on the grounds of Windsor Castle. The Gothic chapel is a place defined by nearly 1,000 years of history and has been a venue for many occasions, both in times of celebration and times of mourning. Read on for more information about where Queen Elizabeth will be buried.
Where Is St. George’s Chapel?
St. George’s Chapel is on the grounds of Windsor Castle, one of the Queen’s official royal residences, in the town of Windsor just 10 miles west of London on the River Thames. The Queen used Windsor castle as a weekend retreat and would often attend official services at St. George’s Chapel (though her primary place of worship was the Royal Chapel of All Saints, a smaller church on the grounds of Windsor Great Park, for privacy). According to a Palace press release, the Queen’s hearse will travel to the chapel along the Long Walk, a historic, tree-lined avenue leading to the castle, before a final burial service.
What Is the History of St. George’s Chapel?
Windsor Castle itself boasts nearly 1,000 years of royal heritage, but St. George’s Chapel wasn’t established until later, in the 14th century, by Edward III as a college (a religious community responsible for the church’s activities) and the official church of the Order of the Garter, the U.K.’s most senior chivalric order, of which kings and queens are members. The chapel was significantly overhauled in the 15th century during the reign of Edward IV and was completed by Henry VIII in 1528. With its soaring ceiling, elegant fan vaults, ornate carved stalls, and spectacular 15th-century stained-glass windows, St. George’s Chapel is considered one of the U.K.’s finest examples of “Perpendicular Gothic” architecture. The chapel’s namesake, St. George, is the patron saint of England.
What Other Famous Events Have Been Held There?
Over the centuries, St. George’s Chapel has been the site of many royal services, including confirmations, weddings, and funerals.The chapel was the venue for Prince William’s 1997 confirmation into the Church of England as well as for the wedding for Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, just to name two special events. In recent years, the church reentered the spotlight on the occasion of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding there in May 2018; the following year, Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank were also married there. Most recently, Prince Philip’s funeral was held at the chapel last year, when the Queen famously sat alone in the carved stalls due to COVID-19 precautions.
Who Else Is Buried There?
Queen Elizabeth will be joining 10 kings and queens in the various vaults of St. George’s Chapel, including Henry VIII, Charles I, and her own father, King George VI. The Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, and Prince Philip are also interred at the chapel.
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