Queen Elizabeth: The story of her coffin – The fittings that hold the crown and the lead lining

Queen Elizabeth: The story of her coffin – The fittings that hold the crown and the lead lining
Queen Elizabeth: The story of her coffin – The fittings that hold the crown and the lead lining

The company “London Bridge”—the protocol for handling the Queen’s death—was just put in place Queen Elizabeth II passed away on September 8, 2022at the age of 96.

Unknown to many, the meticulous planning of her death began shortly after her accession to the throne 1952 after her father’s death. In a New York Times article, Professor of British Commonwealth and History, Philip Murphy, characteristically stated that “From the moment the Queen became monarch, Whitehall began the process of planning what would happen when she died.”

Throughout the years, those involved in planning – including the police, media and government – reportedly met three times a year to discuss and update the London Bridge operation as needed, while Queen Elizabeth herself was involved in planning her funeral.

In 2021, Politico obtained the details of Operation London Bridge and described the events that would take place up to 10 days after the Queen’s death, while the meticulous planning, of course, includes the coffin in which Queen Elizabeth II will be buried.

The members of the royal family they are usually buried in lead lined coffins. Lead serves as protection and contributes to maintaining the body for a longer period of time, as the heavy metal prevents moisture from entering and in turn slows down the decay process. According to grunge.com, this practice dates back to the old days when there were no other body preservation techniques available.

Details of Queen Elizabeth’s coffin

Queen Elizabeth's coffin and King Charles

Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin was made by Henry Smith, which closed in 2005. The company was founded in 1869 and made coffins by hand until it closed, reports the Daily Mail, while according to the Telegraph, the queen’s coffin was ordered and built more than 30 years before her death. It is the same company that supplied the coffins for other well-known personalities, such as the frontman of Queen Freddie Mercurythe actress and singer Diana Dors, the musician Jimi Hendrix and the queen’s late husband, Prince PhilipDuke of Edinburgh.

When Henry Smith closed, T Cribb & Sons took over, but records were lost in the transition and the exact date of construction could not be determined. traditionally, royal coffins are made of English oak from Sandringham Estate. Exact details about Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin are difficult to confirm as they were lost with the records, grunge.com reports, but what is known is that it took about a week to complete its construction. Today, it is rare for coffins to be made from English oak, as the material is hard to find and extremely expensive. For this reason, Today’s oak caskets are mainly made from American oak.

The details on the coffin – fittings, clasp and handles – are said to have been supplied by the now-defunct firm of Newman Brothers, a coffin furniture maker based in Fleet Street, Birmingham. The details were specially designed for royal coffins and fittings were created to securely hold the orb, scepter and crown on top of the casket.

The last “residence” of Queen Elizabeth II

The Crown of Scotland on Queen Elizabeth's coffin

After the Queen’s coffin was built, it was guarded and maintained by JH Kenyon Ltd. and then transferred to Leverton & Sons in 1991, when the firm was first used by the Royal Family.

Since Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin is lined with lead, it is significantly heavier than an ordinary coffin and eight pallbearers are required to lift and move it instead of the usual six. As Metro reports, her casket Princess Dianawhich was also lined with lead, weighed a quarter of a ton, i.e. about 250 kilos.

Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin is essentially one coffin within a coffin -the inner casket is made of wood and then protected with lead and placed inside an outer casket. It was revealed for the first time to the public three days after her death, while the royal flag of Scotland draped over it, with an arrangement of sweet peas and dahlias -the favorite flowers of the deceased- collected from Balmoral.

After 10 days of mourning, Queen Elizabeth II’s body to be moved to St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where the parents of Queen Elizabeth II, King George VI and the Queen Mother are also buried. The remains of Princess Margaret, the queen’s sister who died in 2002, are also in the chapel, the New York Times reported.

The article is in Greek

Tags: Queen Elizabeth story coffin fittings hold crown lead lining

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