As you might expect, my weekly blog is a much shorter one than usual. On September 8, 2022 Buckingham Palace announced that the longest-reigning monarch in British history, Queen Elizabeth II, sadly died. After serving as the head of our royal family for 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II passed away peacefully at Balmoral Castle, her estate in the Scottish Highlands, with her family by her side. Upon her death, her eldest son and heir apparent, Prince Charles, immediately ascended as the King of the United Kingdom and took the name King Charles III.
Queen Elizabeth’s body remained in Scotland for a time, when senior royals were able to pay their own moving tribute, standing guard around the coffin for a while – a tradition known as the Vigil of the Princes. The coffin was then returned to England to lie in state for a few days in Westminster Hall. This has allowed for a period of mourning, during which time the public are able to visit, walking slowly by and paying their respects as the coffin lies on a raised platform known as a catafalque.
The Queen’s state funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey on Monday, 19th September, after which the Queen’s coffin will be taken to Windsor for a committal and she will be buried at St. George’s Chapel, next to her husband, Prince Philip, in an annex to the main chapel where her mother and father were buried, along with the ashes of her sister, Princess Margaret.
St. George’s Chapel was chosen in the 19th century as the burial place for the royal family and various members of the family, including Henry VIII, Charles I, George V, and George VI have since been buried throughout the chapel.
Built in the Perpendicular Gothic style, St. George’s Chapel is frequently cited as one of the best examples of the 14th-century aesthetic. True to the era, the stunning structure features four-centred pointed arches, fan vaulting, and ornate, intricate detailing. Construction started under Edward IV in 1475 and was completed in 1528 by Henry VIII. It was built in two stages, starting with the choir and its aisles in 1483, with the nave constructed later in 1496. In accordance with the British monarchy, the chapel’s interiors commemorate key figures and moments throughout both royal history and that of the chapel.
Her Royal Majesty is the only British head of state most of us have ever known and she has been a constant in the lives of her people. May she rest in peace and may her family, along with all who knew or knew of her, be comforted by the memories we each of us have over her long life.