Queen Elizabeth: How Long Will Her Body Remain in the Royal Vault Alongside Prince Philip?

Queen Elizabeth II‘s funeral drew dignitaries, close friends, and family members worldwide. Processions through London streets and Windsor Castle accompanied the queen’s coffin before her burial. However, ahead of this, Queen Elizabeth will rest with her husband, Prince Philip, in the Royal Vault. How long will her body remain there?

The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 19, 2022.
Queen Elizabeth II funeral procession | Ben Stansall/ POOL/ AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth lay in state in the same manner as her grandfather, King George V

Despite almost a century of change from when her grandfather, King George V, died in 1936, Queen Elizabeth’s lying in state ritual followed the same rules from 86 years prior.

Both the queen and her grandfather lay in state in Westminster Hall. Their coffins rested on a royal purple platform. At one end of the casket lay a brass cross. On top draped the royal standard. Tall candlesticks and ceremonial guards flanked the queen’s body.

Before the queen, five British kings and queens have lain in state at Westminster Hall. According to the Associated Press, historians say maintaining such traditions consistently through time is crucial to preserving reverence for the monarchy.

Edward VII set the modern practice of lying in state in Westminster Hall in 1910. It was reportedly a move to bring the monarchy to the people, so they could be close to the sovereign to pay their respects.

How long will Queen Elizabeth remain in the Royal Vault alongside Prince Philip?

Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth photographed in 2007.
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth | Tim Graham/Getty Images

Following her funeral at Westminister Abbey, a car carrying Queen Elizabeth’s body will head toward Wellington Arch, near Hyde Park, before being driven to Windsor. The queen’s casket will be buried alongside her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh. He has been interred in the Royal Vault since his death in April 2021.

The Royal Vault is a burial chamber deep below the altar of St. George’s Chapel, within the grounds of Windsor Castle. The vault is approximately 16 feet below the ground, reported Express.

The chamber has enough space to hold 44 bodies. A removable flooring slab in St George’s Chapel allows access, and the coffin is lowered. However, the late monarch will not remain in the Royal Vault for long.

Before being moved to the King George VI Memorial Chapel, her coffin will remain there. At a private family ceremony, the queen’s and Prince Philip’s remains will be interred in their final resting place.

Who can attend the queen’s final services?

Per The New York Times, a committal service will occur at St. George’s Chapel. This service is open to the queen’s staff, both past, and present. The dean of Windsor will conduct the service.

The news outlet reported that ahead of the final hymn, the crown jeweler will remove the Imperial State Crown, the orb, and the scepter and place them on the altar. These items lay atop Queen Elizabeth’s coffin since her death. Following a hymn and blessing by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the queen’s coffin is lowered into the royal vault, followed by a private ceremony for family members.

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