St. George’s Chapel is part of Windsor Castle in Berkshire, England. It’s one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in England, and it’s second only to Westminster Abbey as a royal mausoleum.
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Royals and other notable figures have had their funerals and burials at St. George’s Chapel since its construction completed in 1511. And St. George’s Chapel still plays host to funeral rites and notable burials to this day.
If you’re interested in British royalty and history, you might be intrigued by the famous graves at St. George’s Chapel. Below, we’ll let you know about some of those noteworthy burials.
Royal Burials at St. George’s Chapel
St. George’s Chapel is a Royal Peculiar property, which means it’s under the direct jurisdiction of the royal monarch. And that makes sense, since so many royals and notable figures are interred there.
In fact, the majority of modern royals are buried in the tombs of St. George’s Chapel or nearby at the Frogmore House’s Royal Burial Ground. Here are just some of the members of royalty who found their final resting place at St. George’s Chapel.
Jane Seymour, Queen of England (1537)
Jane Seymour was the Queen of England from 1536 to 1537 as King Henry VIII’s third wife. She followed Anne Boleyn as queen consort after Boleyn’s execution in 1536.
Seymour died on October 24, 1537, at the age of 29, just two weeks after giving birth to her son, Edward. Edward would go on to become King Edward VI of England.
Jane Seymour is the only queen consort to King Henry VII to receive a queen’s funeral, as well as the only one buried beside him at St. George’s Chapel.
Henry V111, King of England (1547)
King Henry VIII was the King of England from 1509 until he died in 1947. He’s perhaps best known for his six marriages, as well as his attempt to have his first marriage annulled.
When Pope Clement VI disagreed with him on the question of annulment, Henry VIII initiated the English Reformation. The Reformation effectively separated the Church of England from papal authority.
Henry VIII is also known as “the father of the Royal Navy,” and for his changes to the English Constitution. He’s credited with ushering in the theory of divine right.
Henry VIII went on to have three more wives (and mistresses) after Jane Seymour. But, as mentioned, Jane is the only one buried beside him at St. George’s Chapel.
Charles 1, King of England (1649)
Born November 19, 1600, Charles I was born into the House of Stuart. He was the second son of King James VI of Scotland, and he moved to England after his father inherited the English throne in 1603.
Charles I became the heir apparent to the three realms of England, Scotland, and Ireland when his older brother died in 1612. In 1625, Charles I married the French princess, Henrietta Maria.
Following in the footsteps of Henry VIII, Charles I believed in the divine right of kings. But many of his subjects disagreed with his policies, including increased taxation without the consent of parliament. Much of the public even saw his actions as tyrannical, and his marriage to a Roman Catholic princess only increased public distrust.
During the English Civil War, Charles was defeated and ultimately handed over to the English Parliament. Charles refused to submit to his captors’ demands for a constitutional monarchy, and after escaping briefly, he was imprisoned on the Isle of Wight. Charles was convicted and executed for treason in January of 1649.
Francis, Duke of Teck (1900)
Francis Paul Charles Louis Alexander was known as Count Francis von Hohenstein until 1863. That year, he took the title of Prince of Teck, although he had no actual succession rights to his kingdom of Wurttemberg.
Francis was an Austrian nobleman by birth, and he would go on to marry into a family with greater standing and wealth than his own. He, in fact, married his own father’s third cousin, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge. Mary Adelaide was the daughter of Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, and granddaughter of George III.
With his wife, Francis had one daughter and three sons. Their daughter was Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, who would later marry King George V and become Queen Mary of the United Kingdom. That also means that Duke Francis was the great-grandfather of the current British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
Francis, Duke of Teck died on January 21, 1900. He was interred at St. George’s Chapel on January 27.
Alexandra of Denmark (1925)
Alexandra Caroline Marie Charlotte Louise Julie, or “Alix” for short, lived from 1844 to 1925. She was Queen Consort of the United Kingdom and British Dominions, as well as Empress Consort of India, as King Edward VII’s wife.
Alexandra’s father, Christian IX of Denmark, was chosen by the major European powers to become King of Denmark following the death of his cousin, Fredrich VII.
At just 16 years old, Alexandra was hand-selected as the future wife of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, by Queen Victoria (although she wasn’t the Queen’s first choice). Eighteen months later, the two were married. Alexandra was subsequently Princess of Wales from 1863 to 1901, which is the longest anyone has held that title.
Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon (2002)
Princess Margaret was born on August 21, 1930. She was the younger daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, as well as Queen Elizabeth II’s only sibling.
During WWII, the two sisters lived together at Windsor Castle--the very same place where St. George’s Chapel is located. They stayed there despite suggestions to evacuate the royal pair to Canada for their own safety.
Margaret was considered by many a controversial member of the British royal family. She divorced her husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones, in 1978. It was a decision that earned her much negative publicity at a time when divorce wasn’t publicly accepted.
Margaret suffered several strokes before her death on February 9, 2001. at King Edward VII’s Hospital in London. Unlike most members of the royal family, Margaret was cremated. Her ashes were placed in the same tomb as her father, King George VI.
Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, Queen of the United Kingdom (2002)
Princess Margaret’s mother, Elizabeth the Queen Mother, died just weeks after her daughter. As the wife of King George VI, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was the Queen of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions from 1936 until Goerge VI’s death in 1952. Elizabeth was also the last empress of India.
Following her husband’s death, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s daughter, at the age of 25, became the new queen. But Elizabeth was still viewed as the matriarch of the British royal family.
Even when other members of the family were suffering low public approval levels, Elizabeth was consistently popular amongst the people. She lived an active public life, with an indomitably cheery spirit, up until just months before her death. Elizabeth lived to the age of 101 years and 238 days and finally passed away just seven weeks after her daughter, Margaret.
Queen Mother Elizabeth was buried next to her husband, George VI and her daughter at St. George’s Chapel on April 9, 2002.
Other Burials at St. George’s Chapel
Not only British royals are buried at St. George’s Chapel. Also interred there are close friends and extended relatives of the royal family, notable noblemen, as well as a priest and even unidentified individuals.
Dr. Penyston Booth was an Anglican priest who served as the Dean of Windsor from 1729 to 1765. Before that, Booth had served as Canon of Windsor from 1722 to 1729. He also held several other ecclesiastical appointments during his tenure with the Church of England.
Princes in the Tower
In the altar area of St. George’s Chapel are the coffins of two unidentified children. It’s suggested that the remains belong to the “Princes in the Tower,” who were sons of Edward IV and his wife, Elizabeth Woodville, both of whom are also buried in that area of the chapel.
The “Princes in the Tower” is a phrase commonly used to refer to Edward V, King of England, and his brother, Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York. They were the only sons of their royal parents who survived their father’s death in 1483. At that time, they were 12 and 9 years old.
They lived in the Tower of London, with their uncle looking after them. Edward V, now King of England, was supposedly preparing for his upcoming coronation. But before he could take the crown, Edward was declared illegitimate, and their uncle ascended to the throne in his stead.
The last recorded sighting of the boys is thought to have occurred around 1483, and it’s generally assumed they were murdered.
Prince Alemayou Tewodros
Prince Alamayou was the son of Emperor Tewodros II of Ethiopia. He was born on April 23, 1861, and he died at the young age of 18 in 1879.
Alamayou’s father committed suicide after being defeated by the British in battle in 1868. Following his father’s death, the young prince was taken to Britain and cared for by Captain Tristram Speedy on the Isle of Wight.
But while completing his education, the prince contracted pleurisy and died after six weeks of illness. Queen Victoria, who had taken a liking to Prince Alamayou and empathized with his hardships, arranged for his burial at St. George’s Chapel.
More to See at St. George’s Chapel
In addition to its status as a Royal Peculiar, St. George’s is the Chapel of the Order of the Garter, the most senior order of knighthood in the British honor systems. A service for the Order of the Garter still takes place at the chapel each June.
And more royal ceremonies take place at St. George’s Chapel, including royal weddings. One of the latest weddings to take place there was the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018.
All of its history, architectural interest, and royal gravesites make St. George’s Chapel well worth adding to your bucket list as a place to see before you die.
- “Saint George's Chapel.” Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Saint-Georges-Chapel