King Henry III ordered the Cosmati pavement to be laid down and his magnificent new Gothic church was consecrated on 13 October 1269. The ceremony of coronation of kings and queens takes place on the pavement and many major royal services are held here.
The coronation ceremony takes place in front of the High Altar. The first coronation after the pavement was laid was that of Edward I and Eleanor of Castile in 1274. The ancient Coronation Chair, in which the sovereign is anointed and crowned, is placed on a carpet on the pavement.
The first royal wedding on the new pavement was that of Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, son of Henry III, to Aveline de Forz in 1269. The most recent was that of Prince William to Catherine Middleton in 2011. In total sixteen royal weddings have taken place at the High Altar.
Anne of Cleves, the fourth wife of Henry VIII, was buried to the south of the pavement in 1557 and her tomb still remains. Anne Neville, queen of Richard III also lies in an unmarked grave on the south side.