From the moment King Edward the Confessor decided to build his church at Westminster in the 11th century, the story of the Abbey has been woven into the history of the British monarchy.
King Edward the Confessor
From coronations to weddings and burials, every British monarch has forged a strong bond with the Abbey. Two centuries later Henry III built the Abbey church you see today. Since 1066 every British monarch except two has been crowned at the Abbey.
Coronation of George IV 1821
Queen Elizabeth I, who succeeded her half-sister Mary I, founded the present Collegiate Church of St Peter Westminster (the formal title for the Abbey) in 1560. The Abbey is a Royal Peculiar responsible not to the Archbishop of Canterbury but to the sovereign alone.
Thirty kings and queens are buried here, starting with King Edward the Confessor himself whose magnificent shrine stands just behind the High Altar. Five monarchs are buried in the royal tombs surrounding his shrine.
King Edward the Confessor Shrine
Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, 2011
The Shrine of St Edward the Confessor is one of the most powerful features of the Abbey. To stand in the presence of a man who is both a saint and a monarch is awe-inspiring.