Westminster Abbey: Five Points About The Place Where Queen Elizabeth II's Funeral Will Be Held

The Britain national flag flying half mast at the Westminster Abbey.

For almost 1,000 years, coronations, weddings, and funerals of English and later British monarchs have taken place at Westminster Abbey in the centre of London.

Here are five points about the traditional church for Royals:

  1. On the site of a Benedictine monastery established around 960, King Edward the Confessor expanded it significantly by constructing a stone church in the 1040s. King Henry III issued the instructions for the massive Gothic abbey’s initial construction in 1245. It was created to serve as a location for the coronation and burial of kings.

  2. In 1066, William I became the first monarch to be crowned in the abbey, beginning a custom that has continued ever since. As her eldest son Charles will be, Elizabeth II was also crowned on the Coronation Chair in 1953.The throne was created between 1300 and 1301. It contained the Scone Stone, which was used for centuries to enthrone Scottish monarchs. In a daring raid by Scottish students in 1950, the stone was briefly taken and accidentally split in half.

  3. It was symbolically restored to Scotland in 1996 as nationalist sentiment increased, but it will return from Edinburgh Castle to Westminster for coronations. 38 reigning kings’ coronations have taken place at the abbey.

  4. Since World War I, the majority of royal weddings have also taken place at churches. The first happened on November 11, 1100, when King Henry I married Princess Matilda of Scotland. Prince Albert, later King George VI, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon were married in a church in 1923, becoming the parents of Queen Elizabeth. In 1947, Queen Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten in the abbey. 

  5. Beginning with Edward the Confessor, 30 monarchs and queens are buried at the abbey. The last was King George II in 1760. The abbey is home to 3,330 graves, some of which contain some of the most notable individuals in British history. There are eight prime ministers among them, as well as Charles Dickens, Geoffrey Chaucer, Samuel Johnson, Rudyard Kipling, Alfred Tennyson, Henry Purcell, William Wilberforce, Laurence Olivier, and Thomas Hardy.

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