Founded in 960, Westminster Abbey, or the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is a mainly Gothic abbey church in the city of Westminster, London. Near the Thames and the Palace of Westminster, it is one of the United Kingdom’s most notable and recognizable religious buildings.
A traditional place of coronation and burials for English monarchs, it has been the setting for some of the most famous royal events in history. Royal Central is taking a look at the kings buried at the Abbey.
Sebert, King of the East Saxons and EthelgodaEmbed from Getty Images
Buried in the south ambulatory of the Abbey is Sebert (or Sebbe) King of the East Saxons, who died around AD 616. During this period, the East Saxons area consisted of what is now Essex, Middlesex, and part of Hertfordshire. Sebert’s parents were Sledd and Ricula (the sister of King Ethelbert of Kent.) Sebert’s wife Ethelgoda who died around 615 is said to be buried with him.
Edward the ConfessorEmbed from Getty Images
Reigning from 1042 to 1066, Edward was one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England. After his death in January 1066, Edward’s burial procession went from Westminster Hall to the Abbey. Buried on the 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany before the High Altar, a reliquary of gold and silver was made for Edward’s remains.
Henry III of EnglandEmbed from Getty Images
Henry III was one of the longest-reigning monarchs in English history and was known for his devotion to Edward the Confessor. He succeeded his father in 1216 and set about remodelling Westminster Abbey. He served until his death in November 1272.
Originally buried in the old grave of Edward the Confessor, Henry is the first monarch to be buried in a coffin (rather than having the body be visible with a wax effigy). 19 years after his death, he was put by his son Edward I to the north of the Shrine of St Edward at Westminster.
Edward I of EnglandEmbed from Getty Images
The son of Henry III of England, Edward reigned from 1272 to 1307, and was named in honour of Edward the Confessor. After his July death at Burgh on the Sands in Cumberland where his body was embalmed, he was taken to Waltham Abbey in Essex. In October of 1307, he was brought to Westminster for burial at the chapel of St Edward the Confessor.
Edward III of EnglandEmbed from Getty Images
Edward, also known as Edward of Windsor before his accession, reigned from 1327 to 1377. Often noted for his military success, Edward is also known for restoring royal authority after the turbulent reign of his unpopular father, Edward II. Edward was buried near his wife’s monument in the chapel of St Edward the Confessor.
Richard II of EnglandEmbed from Getty Images
Reigning from June 1377 to September 1399, Richard died around February 1400 at Pontefract Castle, most likely because of starvation. Richard inherited the throne as a boy but as he gained adulthood, his rule became increasingly unpopular. In 1387, control of the government was taken over by a group of aristocrats known as the Lords Appellant. By 1389, Richard gained control once again. But In 1399, after Richar’s uncle John of Gaunt died, the king disinherited Gaunt’s son, Henry of Bolingbroke. While Richard was in Ireland, Henry returned to claim his father’s inheritance. He then captured and deposed Richard and was crowned King Henry IV.
Richard was originally buried in King’s Langley Priory in Hertfordshire. In 1413, Henry V moved the body to its final resting place at Westminster Abbey.
Henry V of EnglandEmbed from Getty Images
Reigning from 1413 to 1422, Henry V is known for his military success in the Hundred Years’ War against France and for making England one of the strongest military powers in Europe. Before his death, in August 1422, he had negotiated the Treaty of Troyes which made him and his successors heirs to the French throne. Henry was originally embalmed in Rouen Cathedral in Normandy, France. His body was then moved to the Abbey in November 1422.
Henry VII of EnglandEmbed from Getty Images
Reigning 1485 to 1509, Henry VII was the first monarch of the House of Tudor. Henry died of tuberculosis at Richmond Palace in April 1509. He was buried next to his wife, Elizabeth of York, in the chapel he had commissioned in the Abbey.
Edward VI of EnglandEmbed from Getty Images
Reigning 1547 to 1553, Edward was crowned on 20 February when he was only nine years old. The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was England’s first monarch to be raised as a Protestant.
James VI and IEmbed from Getty Images
Known as James VI King of Scotland from 1567, James became King of England and Ireland as James I in 1603 after the union of the Scottish and English crowns. The son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and a great-great-grandson of Henry VII, King of England and Lord of Ireland, James died in 1625 after suffering a stroke.
Charles II of EnglandEmbed from Getty Images
King of Scotland from 1649 to 1651, Charles was King of Scotland, England, and Ireland from the 1660 Restoration until his death in 1685.
William III of EnglandEmbed from Getty Images
William was Sovereign Prince of Orange from birth and in 1688, played a central part in the ‘Glorious Revolution’ which unseated his father-in-law, James II. William, alongside his wife, Mary, became joint sovereign of England, Scotland and Ireland. William died of pneumonia in 1702.
George II of Great BritainEmbed from Getty Images
George was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick -Lüneburg (Hanover), and a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from June 1727 until his death in 1760.