On Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth II’s remains were taken to London to lie in state in Westminster Hall.
The monarch’s coffin will be placed in the hall for people to pay their respects before it is eventually placed in the King George VI memorial chapel in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
The coffin that Elizabeth will rest in is unique. Like those of her mother and father, who are buried in the chapel, and that of her husband Prince Philip, who will soon be buried there with the queen, Elizabeth’s coffin is lined with lead.
The coffin was constructed around 30 years ago out of English oak that is believed to have been taken from the queen’s estate in Sandringham.
After the outer portion of the coffin was crafted, it was lined with lead.
The royal family has long opted for such coffins as the lead aids in the preservation of the body by preventing moisture from building up in the coffin and keeping it airtight.
Keeping the coffin as airtight as possible is important when the coffins are not buried underground.
Matthew Lymn Rose, managing director of A.W. Lymn, The Family Funeral Service, said “Most people are buried underground. If you have a coffin vault or a family chamber in a church then that coffin remains above ground and open to the elements. A sealed coffin is very important.”
Leverton & Sons, the family firm of undertakers who have worked closely with the royal household on the queen’s funeral arrangements, does not know who made the coffin, only that it came from the previous firm of royal funeral directors, Kenyons, Andrew Leverton told The Times.
It’s believed that the queen’s coffin was built at the same time as her husband’s.
In addition to sealing the coffin, the lead makes the coffin heavier. Instead of six pallbearers, eight pallbearers are needed to carry the coffin.