St. George’s Chapel, the Royal Vault & the Royal Burial Ground

The majority of contemporary members of the monarchy, along with the Royal Vault, are interred in St. George’s Chapel, situated at Frogmore House or the nearby Royal Burial Ground in Windsor. Several tombs, such as that of Alfred the Great, remain unidentified. It should be noted that the British Royal Family’s kings and queens are not laid to rest in a singular location.

Illustration of the funeral of George v of Hanover in St. George's Chapel

Artwork by Sydney Prior Hall, Royal Collection, on Wikimedia Commons.

The Quire Aisles are interred with Edward IV, Henry VII, and Queen Alexandra. The Quire houses the sepulchers of King Henry VIII and Charles I. St. George’s Chapel has witnessed numerous monarchs laid to rest since its establishment in the 15th century.

Following their demise, the remains of Edward VII, George V, and George VI were transferred to mausoleums within the chapel, although their initial interment took place in the Royal Vault.

Interior view of quire in St. George's Chapel

Picture taken by Serendigity on Flickr.

King George VI’s body was moved into a specially constructed annex of the chapel, the King George VI Memorial Chapel, in 1969.

Margaret Princess was interred instead of buried, a distinction reserved for very few royals. After a few months, they were also moved to a chapel, although Margaret’s ashes were originally kept in the Royal Vault. Her husband, King George VI, was interred directly in the Chapel next to her. In 2002, both Queen Elizabeth II’s younger sister, Princess Margaret, and the Mother Queen died.

Prior to the funeral, Queen Elizabeth II’s body lay in state at Westminster Palace for a period of 4 days. This was the first state funeral in the UK since Winston Churchill’s funeral in 1965, and Queen Elizabeth was laid to rest in St. George’s Chapel on Saturday, September 19th, 2022, as a mark of tribute.

Afterwards, during an intimate ceremony, Elizabeth II was ultimately interred in the King George VI Memorial Chapel, where she was laid to rest beside her spouse, Prince Philip. The televised public burial service at Westminster Abbey, originating from St George’s chapel, was graced by various world leaders, royal families, and notable figures from across the globe, after the four-day period of lying in state.

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Several other notable members of the royal family, as well as numerous monarchs of the United Kingdom, have been laid to rest in the Royal Vault. Princess Amelia, the youngest daughter of the king, was the first to be interred in 1810, in a temporary vault located close to the entrance. King George III gave orders for the excavation of the Royal Vault, a burial chamber situated beneath St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, which took place from 1804 to 1810.

  • HRH The Princess Charlotte (daughter of George IV; she passed away while her father was still Prince Regent), 1817.

  • Her Royal Highness Queen Charlotte (spouse of George III), 1818.

  • HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (sibling of George III, and parent of Queen Victoria), 1820.

  • King George III, 1820.

  • King George IV, 1830.

  • King William IV, 1837.

  • HRH The Prince Albert Victor (Oldest son of Edward VII, died before future George V), 1892.

  • Copy of newspaper from 1830 describing the funeral of George IV, with reference to the royal vault

    Picture taken by Wellcome Images on Flickr.

    Members of the junior royal family were buried at Frogmore House, while the burial of senior members of the Royal Family resumed at St. George’s Chapel. The Royal Burial Vault has become a much less common location for royal burials.

    Mary Queen, as well as other senior royals such as George VI and George V, were also transferred to St. George’s Chapel. In 1988, her body was transferred to Jerusalem, but Princess Alice, his mother, was also buried in the Royal Vault. The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, was the last to be buried in the Royal Vault in Edinburgh in 2021.

    In the past, George III initially commissioned the building of the vault. He was a descendant of Princess Frederika of Hanover, who was laid to rest in 1926 and whose remains are still in the Royal Vault. Prince Philip is the most recent person to be interred there.

    While the funeral was taking place, the casket was gently descended into the Royal Vault through a unique aperture in the flooring of St. George’s Chapel, adhering to the customary practice of interment.

    Close-up of panel in 19th century broadsheet newspaper describing the funeral of George IV in St. George's Chapel and lowering of his coffin into the Royal Vault

    Image captured by Wellcome Images on Wikimedia Commons.

    What is the Royal Graveyard?

    View of Princess Louis's grave in the Royal Burial ground, with other ledger memorials in shot

    Image captured by Peter Symonds on Wikimedia Commons.

    In 1928, the Royal Burial Ground was established as the private cemetery for the United Kingdom’s royal family, with junior members of the royal family being designated as the burial site and consecrated.

    Buried within it were Prince Arthur, a progeny of Queen Victoria, Princess Victoria, a progeny of Edward VII, and Prince George, Duke of Kent, a progeny of George V. The resting places of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, previously known as Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, are the most renowned interments at Frogmore.

    Frogmore House is accessible to the public only on select occasions when the Royal Burial Ground can be observed from the surrounding area. However, it is generally not open to the general public.

    In what other locations are members of the Royal Family laid to rest?

    Exterior view of the front of Westminster Abbey on a sunny day

    Picture by Sean O’Neil on Flickr.

    In Westminster Abbey, most of the kings and queens from the Medieval and Early Modern periods are laid to rest. After the construction of St. George’s Chapel, royal burials in the abbey ceased, but since then numerous other prominent individuals, especially renowned authors, have been buried there. Besides St. George’s Chapel, the Royal Vault, and the Royal Burial Ground, there are additional locations where members of the royal family are laid to rest.

    Copy of hand-drawn plan of Westminster Abbey, including tombs of kings and queens buried in it

    Picture by Mrs. A Murray Smith on Wikimedia Commons.

    Situated at Frogmore House are the Royal Mausoleum, which contains the tomb of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and the mausoleum of the Duchess of Kent, Victoria’s mother, both of which are located next to the Royal Burial Ground.

    Princess Diana is buried on an island located within the Althorp Estate in Northamptonshire, which is owned by her biological family, the Spencers.

    In 2015, following the unearthing of his remains beneath a parking lot in the urban area, the burial ceremony of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral gained widespread recognition as the most renowned royal interment beyond the confines of the capital city.