After Prince Philip’s funeral, on April 17th 2021 at St. George’s Chapel, his coffin will be lowered into the Royal Vault where it will remain until the death of The Queen. The two, who shared a marriage lasting over 73 years, will then be buried together. But the decision to place Philip in the Royal Vault means that this prince will share one final, special bond with his mother. For she, too, was laid to rest there following her funeral at St. George’s on December 10th 1969.
Princess Alice had died at Buckingham Palace on December 5th that year and her simple funeral took place at Windsor with her son leading the mourners. Before she passed away, Alice had told her family she wanted to be buried at the Convent of St. Mary Magdalene in Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Her wish would be fulfilled nearly twenty years later. But for almost two decades, she rested in the Vault.
Now, her only son will follow the same path. The Royal Vault was first used in the early 19th century. A temporary vault was opened up beneath St. George’s in 1810 for the burial of Princess Amelia, the youngest child of King George III and Queen Charlotte. In 1813, the Royal Vault became the resting place of George’s sister, Princess Augusta, Duchess of Brunswick and in the years that followed, became the burial place of some of the most famous names of the House of Hanover.
George III, George IV and William IV were all buried there as, too, was Edward, Duke of Kent, father of Queen Victoria. However, as space became limited, other resting places were created in St. George’s Chapel. The last royal to be buried in the Vault was Princess Alice although the ashes of Princess Margaret rested there for several months before being moved to the King George VI Memorial Chapel at St. George’s so that the princess’ final resting place is with her parents.
Now, the Duke of Edinburgh’s royal story will, for a while at least, find its ending in the Vault. It is only natural that he and The Queen, whose legendary love story helped shape the modern Monarchy, want their final resting places to be together. But while Elizabeth II continues the record breaking reign, her much missed husband will lie at peace in Windsor. And while his tale is forever linked with hers, his burial in the Royal Vault also links him with the mother he treasured, too, throughout his life.