After the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September 2022, Buckingham Palace announced that the longest-reigning monarch in British history would be laid to rest in St George’s Chapel at Windsor. After serving as the head of the royal family for 70 years, upon her death, her eldest son and heir apparent, Prince Charles, immediately ascended as King Charles III.
The Queen's funeral will take place on 19 September 2022, and the service will begin at 8 am (BST), when the doors of Westminster Abbey will open, culminating in a private service at 7.30 pm (BST) at the King George VI Memorial Chapel.
The history of St George’s Chapel
Construction of St George’s Chapel, Windsor, was begun in 1475 by Edward IV. It is one of the most remarkable late Gothic ecclesiastical buildings in Britain – perhaps in Europe. It certainly ranks with iconic national buildings such as King’s College, Cambridge, and Westminster Abbey. In St George’s Chapel and its rituals, the past and present meet on a daily basis, reinforcing a very British sense of history.
The Chapel is an integral part of the great Windsor Castle complex, which dominates the skyline above the town of Windsor and is today an important part of our image of nation and monarchy. The Chapel is a “chapel” really only in name. It is more like a small cathedral in its elegance and the sumptuousness of its furnishings.
Windsor Castle has been important to the monarchy since the time of the conqueror, as William I hunted the district eagerly. Edward III was actually born in the castle and styled himself as “of Windsor”, helping to establish it as a favorite royal residence of the royal family. Charles II added extensive and stately apartments after the Restoration of the monarchy, although the character of the castle was later transformed back to a more romantic medieval form and outline under George IV (formerly the Prince Regent), with the architect Sir Jeffry Wyatville, in the 1820s, which included raising the famous round tower by 30ft.
Where is St George’s Chapel?
St George’s Chapel is located on the ground of Windsor Castle, one of the Queen's many beloved homes, in Berkshire.
The castle is considered to have some of the finest examples of defensive, domestic, and religious architecture through the centuries, and the huge 15th-century St George’s Chapel, the castle’s place of worship, is considered a highlight of English Perpendicular Gothic design. It is also the burial place of many past kings, including amongst many others Henry VIII and Charles I.
The castle is by all definitions a working palace, with even St George’s Chapel being used for daily services.
Who is in the royal vault at St George's Chapel?
St George’s Chapel gradually became, in effect, a great royal mausoleum. It houses the tombs of 10 monarchs: King Edward IV and his wife, Elizabeth Woodville; King Henry VI; King Henry VIII and his third wife, Jane Seymour; King Charles I; King George III; King George IV; King William IV; King Edward VII and his wife, Alexandra of Denmark; King George V and his wife, Mary of Teck; and King George VI.
The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret are also buried here and the Queen will be buried alongside them. She will later be joined by her late husband Prince Philip, whose body will be removed from the Royal Vault to be laid next to Her Majesty.
St. George’s Chapel has also, in the past, been a preferred site for royal family celebrations – including many weddings and christenings.
Can the public visit St George’s Chapel?
St George’s Chapel is open to the public, however, Windsor Castle is a working palace and may be subject to full or partial closure.
Visitors are reminded that St George's Chapel is a place of worship. At least three services take place in the chapel every day, and worshippers are welcome to attend freely. On Sunday the Chapel is closed to visitors – all are welcome to attend services.
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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