The queen’s lead-lined coffin will help her avoid the fate of William the Conqueror

Although Queen Elizabeth II was on the small side, her coffin weighed several hundred pounds as it was lined with lead to hold the monarch’s body after her burial.

Although it may sound strange to line a coffin with lead, this is a centuries-old tradition aimed at better preserving the bodies of monarchs and important figures, as they are buried above ground Washington Post reported.

“[L]Ead helps keep moisture out and maintain the body longer, preventing odors and toxins from escaping a corpse. Her coffin has been on display for many days and has come a long way to its final resting place,” Julie Anne Taddeo, a history professor and researcher at the University of Maryland, told the Post.

The lead lining meant that coffin weigh about 500 pounds, the Daily Mail reported in a tweet.


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According to Taddeo, eight pallbearers are required instead of the usual six because of the weight.

The traditions surrounding the burial and entombment of British monarchs have roots in history.

For example, monarchs’ coffins were no longer transported in carriages after Queen Victoria’s coffin nearly fell onto the road in 1901 after being startled by the horses pulling it, the Post reported.

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Since then, monarchs and important statesmen have been carried on the shoulders of pallbearers, despite the weight of the lead.

The tradition of regularly lining coffins with lead goes back much further monarchs Corpses were usually buried above ground and not buried.

Mike Parker Pearson, a professor in University College London’s Department of Archaeology, estimated that lead-lining of coffins probably began sometime around the era of King Edward I, who died in 1307, the Post reported.

The body of Edward I was found “well preserved in his marble sarcophagus” in Westminster Abbey in 1774.

Prior to this era, kings were not always well preserved, and there are some particularly grisly accounts of what happened to William the Conqueror’s body in 1087 when he died.


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Pearson told the Post that William the Conquerer’s body had decomposed so badly that it bloated and eventually the abdominal area exploded when they tried to place the body in “a stone coffin that proved too small for its mass.” .

“Mourners reportedly ran to the door to escape the putrid stench,” he added.

According to the friar, a monk telling Williams Death“The swollen intestines burst, and an unbearable stench filled the nostrils of the bystanders and the whole crowd,” the University of Chicago Encyclopedia read.

In subsequent centuries, monarchs were better preserved in lead-lined coffins, and the tradition has continued into modern times.

Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin was actually designed decades ago Irish mirror reported.

Specialty firm Henry Smith designed the Queen’s coffin some 30 years ago. The same company also made the coffin of Prince Philip, the Queen’s late husband.

Henry Smith also made coffins for Freddie Mercury and Jimi Hendrix before the company closed in 2005, the Irish Mirror reported.

After the long journey back to London, the queen was eventually buried at Windsor Castle on Monday, the Post reported.

The Queen was buried in the King George VI Memorial Chapel in St George’s Chapel. She rests with her late husband, sister and parents.

This article originally appeared on The West Journal.

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