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Westminster Abbey and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Abbey will re-open for sightseeing visitors from Friday 21st May.

In the meantime, we remain open for worship and you are welcome to join us at our daily services. We are also open for individual prayer from 10:30am - 12:30pm, Monday to Saturday.

William IV

William was born on 21st August 1765, third son of George III and Queen Charlotte. He had a naval career, served at the relief of Gibraltar and was stationed in the West Indies and Nova Scotia. He was a friend of Admiral Nelson. He succeeded to the throne on the death of his brother George IV in 1830, as the second son of George III, Prince Frederick, had died in 1827 without a son.


He married Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen at Kew Palace on 13th July 1818. They had no surviving children.


William IV and Queen Adelaide were crowned on 8th September 1831. The doors of the Abbey opened at 4.00 am. At 10.15 am the coronation procession left St James' Palace, the King dressed in an admiral's uniform and the Queen in a white and gold dress. For the first time a special lavishly furnished annexe had been built outside the west front of the Abbey to marshal the processions. The royal party arrived at 11.00 am and the ceremony finished at 3.00 pm. There was no usual coronation banquet as the King decided it was too expensive.


He died at Windsor Castle on 20th June 1837 and his niece Victoria succeeded him. He was buried at St George's chapel.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

Music for William IV's Coronation, 1831 (PDF 2,115KB)

British Royal and State funerals.... by M. Range 2016


21st August 1765


20th June 1837


8th September 1831

Painting of William IV in military uniform
King William IV by Sir Martin Archer Shee

National Portrait Gallery, London

At different times of the day, or in different seasons, the light falling in the Abbey will light up something that you have walked past a million times and never seen before.

Vanessa, Head of Conservation

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