Why Will Queen Elizabeth II Be Interred In A Coffin Lined With Lead?

Why Will Queen Elizabeth II Be Interred In A Coffin Lined With Lead?

You undoubtedly already know that the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II passed away. One peculiar detail has stuck out along with the unique customs surrounding her passing (such as the Informing of the Bees): given her small stature, her coffin will be surprisingly heavy.

This is due to the fact that her coffin will be lined with lead, much like Princess Diana and Prince Philip’s were before them. In actuality, it has been prepared for her for 30 years and is lined with lead.

The custom of encasing royals in lead-lined coffins after their deaths dates back hundreds of years and is not intended to prevent Henry VIII from rising from the dead and escaping his coffin for a last divorce (iron would be better for fighting off the supernatural if that were the case).

For improved body preservation, Kings, Queens, Princes, and Princesses have been interred in lead coffins for generations. The custom stems back to a time when there were no modern methods of body preservation; formaldehyde preservation wasn’t discovered until 1869.

Decomposition, which affects everyone from royalty to commoners, can cause a body to end up in a very messy way, as happened to William the Conqueror, the first Norman king of England.

William was involved in a combat and suffered a wound that punctured his intestines. The individuals in his life, the majority of whom he had not treated well, including his son, with whom he was actually at war, decided not to handle the topic of planning his burial while he slowly passed away. He died, and while they waited for a volunteer, his body was allowed to rot on a slab of stone.

As the body continued to rot, a knight eventually took it upon himself to move it 112 kilometers (70 miles) to Caen so that it might be buried. Now that he was free from his duties as king, the king passed the time by gathering gas through decomposition.

The corpse was already warmed up when they got there, and the fire in the city kept the fumes rising. It was too obese to fit into the sarcophagus by the funeral day. The gravediggers tried to cram him in there despite the fact that it was impossible due to the laws of physics, like a child trying to fit a square toy through a hole in a round object.

According to Benedictine monk and chronicler Orderic Vitalis, this is when the body blew, the distended bowels burst, and “an unbearable stink attacked the nostrils of the bystanders and the whole throng.” The slain king’s juice coated the mourning.

Because of a technique that preserves remains for up to a year longer than happens in normal coffins, royals who made it into their casket in the next centuries enjoyed a more dignified finish.

Lead-lined coffins prevent moisture from entering the casket, which slows the body’s deterioration. Since lead does not decompose, it maintains its airtightness, preventing not only decomposition but also the discharge of odors and gases—not something you want if several Royals are housed in the same vault or might be moved in the future.

In Europe, this kind of coffin has historically been beyond reach for all but the wealthiest people, and in the UK, it is still legally required for any bodies being buried above ground.