Why Isn’t Queen Elizabeth’s Casket Open During Her Funeral?

Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, 2022. If you watched the funeral services, one thing you likely noticed is that the queen’s casket was closed. Here’s why the matriarch of the royal family did not have an open casket.

Queen Elizabeth’s coffin

Queen Elizabeth II looks up in front of a blue background.
Queen Elizabeth II | Eddie Mulholland – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth’s coffin, made more than 30 years ago, is lined with lead. Royal family members are usually buried in lead-lined coffins so that the body can be better preserved.

Lead helps prevent moisture from entering the casket, reports iNews. Consequently, this slows down the decomposition of the body. The queen’s coffin matches the one made for her late husband, Prince Philip, who died last year.

Why Queen Elizabeth II’s casket is closed

Queen Elizabeth’s casket is closed during the ceremonies to prevent the body from decaying too quickly. Lining the casket with lead and keeping it closed slow down decomposition.

“Most people are buried underground,” says Matthew Lymn Rose, managing director of A.W. Lymn, The Family Funeral Service (via iNews). “If you have a coffin vault or a family chamber in a church then that coffin remains above ground and open to the elements. A sealed coffin is very important.”

Queen Elizabeth’s funeral

The United Kingdom observed a 10-day mourning period for Queen Elizabeth II. This period of mourning ended with her funeral on September 19, 2022. The queen had a state funeral with processions in Edinburgh, London, and Windsor. Her funeral was held at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The funeral was not open to the public, but mourners were able to pay their last respects during the period of mourning.

The flowers on the queen’s coffin held special significance

A wreath of colorful flowers was displayed on top of the queen’s coffin. One touching detail was that myrtle grown from her 1947 wedding bouquet was included in the floral arrangement. Myrtle symbolizes a happy marriage.

The arrangement also included rosemary, which is a symbol of remembrance, and English oak, a symbol of strength and love. The royal family’s social media account shared the significance of the flowers.

“At The King’s request, the wreath contains foliage of rosemary, English oak and myrtle (cut from a plant grown from myrtle in the queen’s wedding bouquet) and flowers, in shades of gold, pink and deep burgundy, with touches of white, cut from the gardens of Royal Residences,” said the statement.

King Charles III left a note on Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin

Queen Elizabeth’s son, King Charles III, left a note on top of his late mother’s coffin. The note, which was placed inside the wreath of flowers, said, “In loving and devoted memory,” reports ABC News.

The note was signed “Charles R” The “r” stands for Rex, which is the Latin word for king, according to the publication. Queen Elizabeth often signed notes with Elizabeth R. In this case, the “r” stands for Regina or queen.

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