St George’s Chapel in Windsor, the final resting place of Elizabeth II

Monday, September 19, 2022, will go down in the annals of history as the date of the funeral of Queen of all Queens Elizabeth II of England. Millions of people watch the British do one of the things they do best: act like Olympian gods in ancestral ceremonies. queen She will be buried in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, a place steeped in history.

The chapel is located in Windsor Castle and can be visited. Although its name evokes a small construction, this is not the case at all. It’s actually majestic. Not surprisingly, royal weddings have taken place there, just as the souls of distinguished English monarchs rest within its walls.

the history of the castle

Considered one of the grandest in all of Europe, it is closely associated with the English royal family (in fact, since the 11th century, all British monarchs have considered it a second home). Located in the county of Berkshire, 42 kilometers from London, its construction began in the 11th century after the Norman invasion led by William the Conqueror. The reason for its placement was none other than the protection of a key location by the Thames. Over the centuries it was expanded and by the 16th century it served more as a courtyard space for recreation than as a fortress.

We would have to wait until the reign of Henry III, of the Plantagenet dynasty, one of the most important in English history, to see the construction of the luxurious royal palace inside the castle, but that was with the accession to the throne of Edward III (also a Plantagenet). when the castle reached its greatest splendor, becoming one of the most ambitious and expensive architectural projects of the Middle Ages. S the Tudor dynasty Already on the English throne, particularly during the reign of Henry VIII (1491-1547) and his second daughter Elizabeth I (1533-1603), the castle began to be used regularly as a royal court.

This was precisely the predecessor on behalf of the current monarch, rHey Charles II (1630-1685) of Stuart dynasty, which restored a ruined castle after the English Civil War (1642-1846), in which it had been used as a barracks. In the 18th century, George III (1738-1820) and his son and successor George IV (1762-1820), both of the Hanoverian dynasty, built the current Rococo design of the State Apartments. The the great queen victoria of the united kingdom (1819-1901), also of the Hanoverian dynasty, made great use of the castle, especially in his spare time. In World War II it was like that a paradise for the royal family during the bombing of the German troops. In 1992 it suffered a devastating fire, prompting the recently deceased monarch Elizabeth II (1924-2022) to be marked this year as Annus horribilis and that it certainly dampened the Queen’s spirits as it was her favorite weekend spot. After Balmoral Castle, this had always been his favorite residence. The first for summer and Christmas and Windsor for the weekend.

The headquarters of the Order of the Garter

St George’s importance within the vast Windsor Castle complex lies in the fact that it is also the official chapel of the order of the garter, the most important cavalry and the oldest in the United Kingdom. The Order was inspired by the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. The English monarch and the Prince of Wales are always members of this, and are accompanied by twenty-four men (knights) or women (attendants, not ladies, as in other orders, except those belonging to the British royal family, in which case she got her real maiden name

Membership in the Order of the Garter is a a tremendous honor that is also for life. With very few exceptions, such as when these honors were taken away by kings of German origin after the First World War (1914-1918) or Hirohito, Emperor of Japan, after World War II (1939-1945), something Elizabeth II settled as a sign of peace by restoring the title. As a curiosity, King Juan Carlos I and King Felipe VI of Spain are the two members of the order.

Buried in St. George’s Chapel

Elizabeth II will be the next English monarch to be buried in Windsor Castle Chapel. Inside the temple there are several areas where different tombs of English kings and queens are distributed. There are the altar, the choir, the royal crypt, the chapel in memory of Alberto and the one built in memory of George VI and where Elizabeth II will be buried.

they are in people Henry VIIIhis third wife, Jane Seymour Y Carlos I. It is interesting to visit these three tombs because of the historical significance of all three. Henry VIII (1421-1547), one of the most despotic monarchs in his country’s history, was responsible for England’s break with Rome when Pope Clement VII refused to annul his marriage to his first wife, the queen Catherine of Aragon of the Trastamara dynasty (1485-1536), daughter of Catholic monarchs and mother of the future queen Mary Tudor. Not achieving his goal, he broke with Rome and became head of the Church of England, something that continues today in the figure of who holds the British crown. Then he got married Anne Boleyn, who, three years after the wedding, died beheaded, falsely accused (as history itself was later able to verify) of adultery, among other things, with her own brother. the unhappy queen signed her death sentence on the day she gave birth to a daughter instead of the desired man her father was obsessed with, in addition to several abortions, one of which was of a boy. By the way, this daughter, who gave her father so little hope, would be one of the most important monarchs in the history of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth I (1533-1603), the virgin queenknown as such because she always kept her refusal to marry intact, most likely to avoid losing power at the hands of a husband.

Next to Henry VIII rest the mortal remains of his third wife, Queen Jane Seymour (1504-1537), the only one to provide him with a male heir, the future king edward vi (who died of a fever at the age of 16). His birth had tragic consequences for his mother, who died just a few days after birth due to incontinence in childbirth, that is, she most likely died of sepsis, a very common fate for women of that time, including women. ishigh hygiene and medical knowledge of the time. Because she bore him a son, and because of the great sadness the king felt at his sad fate, Henry VIII ordered that she and he be buried in this place at the time of his death. And this despite the fact that he would marry three more times. But so his wish came true. Of course, given that he ditched his next wife after six months (Anne de Cleves), the next, Katherine Howard, beheaded her and the last survivor, it seems more than logical that her wishes were fulfilled. Carlos I is also buried in this part of the chapel. This monarch had the misfortune, like his son Carlos II, to be beheaded.

Near the west gate are the remains of king george v, died in 1936 and his wife the Queen Mary of Teck He died in 1953, very shortly after the coronation of his granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II. A year earlier, in 1952, King George VI died and was buried in the chapel that bears his name. It was with his death that Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne. In the same area rest the remains of the well-remembered and beloved Queen Elizabeth, wife of George VI, ancestor of Queen Elizabeth II and better known as the Queen Mother, who died in 2002. Queen Elizabeth’s much-loved sister, of princess margaret, is also buried there, albeit in the form of ashes. The last proper funeral before the one that will take place on September 18, 2022, was that of the Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, which took place in 2021. As expected, they will rest together for all eternity.

Also a wedding venue

St George’s Chapel has also been the scene of important gay royal events such as the weddings of, among others, Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1863, Queen Elizabeth’s youngest son Edward of Sussex and his wife Sophia Rhys-Jones on June 19, 1999, the blessing (not a wedding) following the civil marriage of the current monarch Charles III and Queen Camilla, on April 9, 2005, the wedding of Peter Phillips (son of Princess Anne and grandson of Elizabeth II) and Autumn Kelly , in May 2008, that of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle on May 19, 2018, and the last wedding of Elizabeth II’s granddaughter, Princess Eugenie, daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, on October 12, 2018.

Without a doubt, it is a place full of history, worth visiting and where you will experience moments of great emotion on the day of the funeral of the longest-lived monarch in the thousand-year history of the British Monarchy.

Jem Lendoiro
She is a journalist and PhD candidate in modern history at the University of Navarre

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