Eighteen months ago, the sight of the Queen sitting alone on the empty pews next to the coffin of her beloved Prince Philip shocked the world.
Tonight, Her Majesty will finally be beside her “Senior” in the Royal Crypt as she makes the same passage through the 1,000-year-old courtyard of St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
The longest-reigning monarch must have experienced such sadness after the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh, who was much larger than her husband and consort of 73. Sun reports.
She first met the man she called “my strength and resilience” when she was only 13 years old and a dashing young naval officer.
Whether he sat next to her during windy parades or walked a step behind, he kept the oath he took at the Queen’s coronation at Westminster Abbey in June 1953.
Kneeling, he put his hands between hers and declared: “I, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, become your lord of life and body and earthly worship; and faith and truth I will bring to you, to live and die, against every kind of people. And God help me.”
This worship will surely last forever.
Philip, who died last April at the age of 99, awaits her at a depth of 4.8 meters in a burial chamber that is usually hidden by black and white diamond-shaped tiles.
It will be opened tonight when the queen’s oak coffin is carefully lowered into the grave.
After his death, the Queen made Windsor Castle her main residence in order to be close to him. Behind the altar in the chapel of the ancient fortress is a passage with steps to the crypt, from which the queen could be even closer.
The chamber, which contains the coffins of 25 members of the royal family, will not be the final resting place of Queen Elizabeth II and her husband.
After all the film crews have left, a private ceremony will take place at 7:30 pm with senior members of the royal family as the couple are buried in the tiny King George VI Memorial Chapel that adjoins the main building.
Her Majesty’s wish was to lie side by side with her husband where her father George VI and her mother Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and sister Princess Margaret are buried. The Queen herself commissioned the chapel as the burial place of her father, King George VI, in 1962.
In earlier centuries, the kings and queens of England were buried in Westminster Abbey.
Henry VIII is perhaps best known for being buried in St. George’s Church, although the marble slab marking his final resting place is in the wrong place.
Also in the main chapel are George IV and William IV. The grandest of all memorials was created by Queen Victoria for Prince Albert after his death in 1861.
Acting against the will of her husband at his will, she transformed the former tomb and chapel of the Lady into a luxurious neo-Gothic chapel with stained glass windows and expensive frescoes inlaid with precious stones and marble.
There is no place more suitable
Albert himself lies prone like a medieval knight in a scarecrow, and his beloved dog Eos lies at his feet.
In 1862, Albert was transferred to the Royal Mausoleum at Frogmore in Windsor Great Park, about 800 meters south of Windsor Castle.
Victoria was buried next to him after her death in 1901. Few outsiders were allowed to enter the crypt of St. George. About 21 m long and 8.5 m wide, it is said to have room for 32 bodies on each side, with 12 low tombs in the middle for sovereigns.
Others buried here include the wife of George III, Queen Charlotte, and the father of Queen Victoria, the Duke of Kent.
Princess Margaret, who died in 2002, was cremated and her ashes were first placed there and then transferred to the George VI Memorial Chapel with her parents’ coffins when the Queen Mother died a few weeks later.
The princess wanted to be cremated because the alternative royal burial ground at Frogmore seemed too “gloomy” to her.
George VI died in 1952, but was first buried in the main royal crypt and moved to the memorial chapel when it was built.
It was the first structural addition to the exterior of St. George’s Cathedral since its completion in 1528.
In March 1969, George VI’s coffin, still covered by the Royal Standard used at his funeral, was removed from the royal vault and buried in the memorial chapel.
And now is the perfect place for Britain’s longest-lived monarch, who meticulously planned every detail of the chapel as well as her own funeral.
This article originally appeared on Sun and has been republished with permission
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