WINDSOR, England (Reuters) – At the end of a state funeral watched by millions of people the world over, Queen Elizabeth was being brought home to her beloved Windsor Castle to be buried in a small chapel in a private ceremony.
Originally built by William the Conqueror after the Norman conquest in 1066, Windsor Castle has been rebuilt and remodelled over the centuries but is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world.
Just outside London, it was the queen’s main weekend retreat and in the later years of her reign her preferred home.
A huge fire there in 1992 caused much damage, capping what the queen called her “Annus Horribilis” (Horrible Year), which saw a string of scandals hit the royal family.
Windsor Castle is the resting place of more than a dozen English and British kings and queens. Most are buried in St. George’s Chapel, including Henry VIII, who died in 1547, and Charles I, who was beheaded in 1649.
The queen will be buried at the King George VI Memorial Chapel, which is next to the quire of the main St George’s Chapel. She commissioned the memorial chapel in 1962 and named it for her father.
King George and his wife, the Queen Mother, are interred there, along with their younger daughter Princess Margaret.
Much of the music to be used at the service was composed or arranged by William Henry Harris, organist at the chapel between 1933 and 1961. He is thought to have taught the queen the piano as a child.
The queen, then princess, and her husband Prince Philip were installed as members of the Order of the Garter – Britain’s most senior order of chivalry – at St George’s Chapel in 1948.
Living Knights of the Garter have banners displaying their arms hung in the chapel. These are taken down when they die, but a brass “stallplate” remains as a memorial.
Queen Elizabeth attended the Maundy Service, when money is distributed to people who have done great work for their communities, at the chapel in 1959, 2016, 2018 and 2019.
St George’s Chapel hosted the funerals of Philip, the queen’s father, her grandfather George V, and great-grandfather Edward VII.
Her grandson Prince Harry was baptised there, and married there in 2018. Prince William, now heir to the throne, was confirmed there.
The coffin of Prince Philip, who died on April 9, 2021, last year, has been stored in a Royal Vault so that he can be buried alongside the queen.
(This story refiles to correct to remove repetition in first paragraph).
(Reporting by Alistair Smout and Angus MacSwan; Editing by Alex Richardson)