Prince Rupert of the Rhine

Prince Rupert (1619-1682), Count Palatine of the Rhine and Duke of Cumberland and Bavaria, was buried on 6th December 1682 in a vault with his mother in the south aisle of Henry VII's chapel in Westminster Abbey. Born in Prague he was a son of Frederick V, sometime King of Bohemia and his wife Elizabeth Stuart (1596-1662), the "Queen of Hearts", daughter of James I of England. The family had to flee to Holland and later Rupert and his brother came to England at the invitation of their uncle Charles I. Rupert became a very successful cavalry commander, as well as First Lord of the Admiralty. He was also a talented artist, scientist, founder Fellow of the Royal Society and governor of the Hudson's Bay Company. He died unmarried on 29th November 1682, although he left several illegitimate children. Only a simple floor stone (situated between the large tombs of Mary Queen of Scots and the Countess of Lennox), with name and date of death, marks his burial place.

The inscription on his coffin plate can be translated:

The remains of the illustrious Prince Rupert, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria and Cumberland, Earl of Holderness, Vice-Admiral of all England, Governor of the Constabulary of the Royal Castle of Windsor, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Member of the Privy Council of the King’s Majesty; third son of the Most Serene Prince Frederick, King of Bohemia etc., by the Most Serene Princess Elizabeth, only daughter of James, sister of Charles I, aunt of Charles the second of that name, both Kings of Great Britain, France and Ireland. Born at Prague, the capital city of Bohemia, on the 17th December 1619, he died in London on the 29th November 1682, in the 63rd year of his age.

Further Reading

"Rupert of the Rhine" by Maurice Ashley (1976)

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


17th December 1619


29th November 1682


6th December 1682




Lady Chapel

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Prince Rupert of the Rhine
Painting of Prince Rupert of the Rhine by Anthony van Dyck

[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Prince Rupert of the Rhine
Prince Rupert of the Rhine listed on the vaultstone

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster