Following Royal Tradition, Queen Elizabeth II to Be Buried in Lead Coffin to Slow Body Discomposure - The Jewish Voice
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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Following Royal Tradition, Queen Elizabeth II to Be Buried in Lead Coffin to Slow Body Discomposure

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Edited by:  Fern Sidman

Britain’s longest reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, was heralded by throngs of people in the United Kingdom and throughout the world on Wednesday, as members of the British royal family along with scores of military personnel escorting her coffin from Buckingham Place to Westminster Hall in central London.

The Queen, who reigned over the United Kingdom, Scotland , Northern Ireland and the commonwealth countries, died last Thursday at her Balmoral estate in the Scottish highlands. She was 96.

On Tuesday, the Queen’s coffin arrived in London ahead of the state funeral that was planned for her. Now that her coffin is at Westminster Hall, hundreds of thousands of well wishers are expected to file past her in the next several days as they send her their final farewells. Her funeral and internment is expected to take place on Monday, September 19 at Westminster Abbey. Following that she will be buried at the King George VI Memorial Chapel in Windsor Castle where her parents King George VI, and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother are buried along with the ashes of the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret.

The remains of her late husband, Prince Phillip who died in April of 2021 will be buried next to her. He is currently in the royal vault under St. George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle with the remains of monarchs and consorts from throughout the last several hundred years.

Following her coffin in the elaborate procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall on Wednesday, were Queen Elizabeth’s four children as well as her grandchildren and nephew. Those marching in honor of the Queens were King Charles Iii, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward. Behind them in the procession were Prince William, (the Prince of Wales), his brother Prince Harry (Duke of Sussex), grandson Peter Phillips and the Earl of Snowden, who is the son of the Queen’s late sister, Princess Margaret.

The coffin that the Queen is in was designed more than 30 years and lined with lead, according to published reports. The coffin is made is English Oak and features brass handles. The Queen’s late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, was interred in the vault below St. George’s Chapel in the same kind of coffin.

According to a report on the CTVNews web site in Canada, the practice of burying members of the royal family in lead-lined coffins dates back hundreds of years.

As members of the royal family and other British aristocrats are buried inside a chamber, rather than directly in the ground, their coffins are lined with lead in order to slow the decomposition of their remains, the CTVNews.ca report indicated.  The lead seals the coffin and prevents moisture from getting in, thus preserving the body for up to a year.

The practice dates back to the Victorian era, when an airtight seal on a coffin was necessary to prevent the potent effects of decay in above-ground burials, as was reported by CTVNews.ca.

For the past four centuries, it has become the practice of English nobility and members of the royal family to be buried in coffins that are lined with lead for the purposes of preserving their remains for as long as possible, according to the CTVNews.ca report.

Palace insiders have also indicated that in the days following the passing of the Queen that physicians performed an embalming ritual on her remains as well.

The CTVNews report said that according to Westminster Abbey records, Queen Elizabeth I and King Charles II were buried in lead-lined coffins, as were Princess Diana, Sir Winston Churchill and Sir Francis Drake.

Eight members of the British military served as pallbearers at the Queen’s funeral procession due to the fact that the coffin is exceptionally heavy because it is made of a combination of oak wood and lead.

The Queen will lie in state starting Wednesday at Westminster Hall until the funeral. Her coffin will be draped in the Royal Standard and topped with the Imperial State Crown, the Sovereign’s Orb, and the Sovereign’s Scepter with Cross, as was reported by CTVNews.

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