Are royals embalmed? Is Queen Elizabeth’s coffin empty? These questions have sparked conspiracy theories as the British monarch lies in state for days.
The former question was trending on Google in the wake of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. According to the Daily Star, a British publication, the Queen “will not be buried or cremated in the same way the majority of her subjects are.”
According to Newsweek, conspiracy theories allege that Queen Elizabeth II’s body “is not actually in the coffin” that is lying in state. Some people think it’s empty. There is no evidence, however, this conspiracy theory is true, and there is another reason the queen’s casket can lie in state for so long: Lead.
In fact, the lead lining the coffin preserves the body longer, meaning the coffin is not empty or there would be no need for it. USA today reported that Queen Elizabeth II’s casket “was made decades ago with a liner of lead that makes it especially heavy.”
Here’s what you need to know:
British Monarchs Are Often Buried in ‘Lead-Lined Coffins’ to Slow Decomposition
As Daily Star notes, the Queen’s body is lying in her coffin and will be until September 19. According to Data Lounge, the coffin is lying in state for 10 days.
How is that possible? According to the Daily Star, some former Queens were embalmed, including Queen Elizabeth I.
However, Queen Victoria refused to be embalmed, after a report that Queen Elizabeth’s “body and head” exploded “due to a build of gases,” Daily Star reported.
According to History Extra, Queen Victoria left specific instructions for her burial:
But Victoria also left secret instructions that she should be buried with a picture of her former companion (and, it was rumoured, her lover) John Brown, together with a lock of his hair, both of which were placed in her left hand, hidden from view by a bunch of flowers.
According to Daily Star, it’s not clear whether Queen Elizabeth II was embalmed but royal monarchs are buried in in lead-lined coffins to slow decomposition of the body.
CBC also noted:
Following a centuries-old tradition for royals, the Queen’s coffin is lined with lead, which helps prevent a body from decomposing for longer. The lead also makes the coffin significantly heavier, meaning eight pallbearers will be needed to carry it.
According to Forces.net, “Made 30 years ago out of English oak and lined with lead, the coffin is estimated to weigh at least 550lbs, or a quarter of a tonne, and anywhere up to 700lbs.”
Where Will the Queen Be Buried?
According to Town and Country, the queen’s final resting place will be alongside her parents, husband, and Princess Margaret at “Windsor Castle’s King George VI Memorial Chapel.”
Margaret was cremated so her remains could fit next to her parents, the magazine reported.
“Princess Margaret was cremated, one of the first members of the royal family, because she wanted to be buried between her parents and there was only room, really, for ashes,” Lady Glenconner, a lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret, explained in a documentary, according to Town and Country.
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