History

Royal Burials at Westminster Abbey.

St Edward the Confessor built a new Abbey Church at Westminster, refounding the monastery there. Thus he created his own burial place, a symbol of his kingship and grandeur to bear comparison with anything contemporary monarchs could show. The Abbey was ready for Edward’s burial in January 1066. It was not until Henry III rebuilt Edward’s church in a more magnificent style 200 years later that another English monarch chose the Abbey as his burial place. Even then Henry decreed that his heart should be buried at Fontevrault Abbey in France where his predecessors had tombs.

As space for royal burials around the Shrine of St Edward was full Henry VII built a new Lady Chapel at the east end of the Church, with vaults beneath the floor, for burials of himself and other members of the Tudor dynasty. Elizabeth I, who died in 1603, was the last English monarch to have a monument erected at the Abbey. In 1612 James I chose to bring the body of his mother, Mary, Queen of Scots, to the Abbey from Peterborough cathedral where she had originally been buried and he erected a magnificent monument for her in the south aisle of Henry VII’s chapel. For the burial of his queen, Caroline, George II constructed a large new vault under the central aisle of the Lady Chapel and in 1760 he was the last monarch to have interment in the Abbey. Lack of space for royal monuments and burials meant that subsequent monarchs were buried at Windsor.

Anne
Anne Neville, wife of Richard III
Anne of Cleves, 4th wife of Henry VIII
Charles II
Edward I and Eleanor of Castile
Edward III and Philippa of Hainault
Edward the Confessor and Edith
Edward V
Edward VI
Elizabeth I
George II and Caroline
Henry III
Henry V and Catherine de Valois
Henry VII and Elizabeth of York
James I and Anne of Denmark
Mary I
Mary II
Mary Queen of Scots
Maud (Matilda) wife of Henry I
Richard II and Anne of Bohemia
William III