LONDON (AP) – After the pomp and pageantry of a grand state funeral, Queen Elizabeth II was laid to rest with her husband and parents in an intimate ceremony in Windsor away from media cameras.
King Charles III and senior royal family members gathered on Monday for the private interment ceremony at St George’s Chapel, a gothic church on the grounds of Windsor Castle that has hosted royal weddings and burials since the 15th Century.
Earlier on Monday, 800 mourners, many of them the queen’s staff, joined royal family members in the chapel for a committal service – the last public ceremony capping 10 days of national mourning that saw huge military parades, miles-long queues in London to see the queen’s coffin lying in state, and Britain’s first state funeral since former Prime Minister Winston Churchill died in 1965.
In contrast, the interment on Monday was on a much more intimate scale. Royal officials said it was a “deeply personal family occasion”, and proceedings were not televised. They said the queen was interred together with Prince Philip’s remains at the King George VI memorial chapel, an annex within St George’s.
When Philip, the queen’s husband of 73 years, died last year, his coffin had been placed in a different part of St George’s Chapel, ready to be moved to the memorial chapel to join the queen when she died.
Elizabeth II’s parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, were also interred there along with the ashes of Princess Margaret, the late monarch’s younger sister who died in 2002.
St George’s is the resting place of 10 former British monarchs, including Henry VIII and the beheaded Charles I. It is also the home of the Order of the Garter, an ancient order of chivalry founded by King Edward III in 1348.
Last year the queen bid farewell to Philip at St George’s in a “COVID-secure” funeral.
The ceremony to mark the death of Philip was muted because of strict pandemic restrictions, and only 30 mourners were allowed inside the chapel at the time.
St George’s and Windsor featured prominently throughout the queen’s life. The chapel was where she celebrated the weddings of three of her grandchildren: Prince Harry married Meghan Markle there in 2018, as did Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank. Peter Philips, the queen’s oldest grandchild, married Autumn Kelly there in 2008.
The queen spent most of her weekends in Windsor, a quiet and more private retreat away from the bustle of Buckingham Palace in central London.
The castle – believed to be the largest occupied castle in the world – was also where young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were sent to live during World War II while their parents were busy with the war effort.
In recent years the queen made Windsor Castle her main residence, having moved there in early 2020 at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.