Prince Philip joins 24 other Royals in the vault under St George's Chapel

Prince Philip has joined 24 other members of the Royal Family lying in the vault under St George's Chapel. His body will remain there until transferred by lift upstairs to a side chapel when the Queen dies. 

Then the devoted couple can be laid together – in the same final resting place as her father, George VI, her mother and with the ashes of the Queen's sister, Princess Margaret.

A vault with enough room for 44 royals  

The Royal Vault is 70ft long and 28ft wide – with space for 32 bodies along two sides and 12 in the middle. 

The vault was built in 1810 and George III was the first king to be interred there, in 1820. 

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Many Royals were placed elsewhere in the chapel before the vault was created, and many have lain to rest here since, before being moved.

Prince Philip has joined 24 other members of the Royal Family lying in the vault under St George’s Chapel. His body will remain there until transferred by lift upstairs to a side chapel when the Queen dies

Prince Philip has joined 24 other members of the Royal Family lying in the vault under St George's Chapel. His body will remain there until transferred by lift upstairs to a side chapel when the Queen dies

Coffin lowered underground by an electric lift

The Chapel's black and white marble floor tiles have a rectangular section in front of the communion table which opens up to allow an electric lift to lower funeral plinths into the Royal Vault. 

Yesterday's procedure was a repeat of what happened at George V's 1936 funeral – attended by the nine-year-old future Queen.

She held her mother's hand during the funeral procession up the Chapel steps, before watching her grandfather's coffin descend 16ft to the vault.

England's only executed monarch 

After his execution in 1649, Charles I's remains were hastily placed in a previously built Windsor vault. The hope was to make it more difficult for pilgrims to pay homage at the 'martyred' king's grave.

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Give me a light into the unknown 

Engraved on a plaque on the gates of a side chapel are the words of a poem quoted by the Queen's father, George VI, in his 1939 Christmas Day broadcast. 

As encouragement to a country at war with Nazi Germany, he read: 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'

Site Henry VIII chose for his third wife 

Jane Seymour, Henry VIII's only wife to give birth to a legitimate male heir, was buried here in 1537, followed by the king himself, ten years later in 1547. 

His body had lain in state in Whitehall – embalmed with spices, encased in lead (weighing more than half a ton) and surrounded by burning tapers.

Poignant advice: Live and die well 

In the Chapel Library is a 16th Century book titled The Craft To Live Well And To Die Well – a medieval 'how to' on leading a good Christian life and ensuring the fate of your soul after your death.

It could have been written especially for Prince Philip, and says: 

A man's life is but a blast of wind

And in a thought departed and gone

Wife, child and goods you must leave behind

Today a man, tomorrow none. 

Moment Prince Philip's coffin is lowered into 200-year-old vault below St George's Chapel before he is moved to King George VI Memorial Chapel when the Queen dies 

Prince Philip's coffin was lowered into the Royal Vault at the end of his televised funeral service today.

The Duke of Edinburgh's coffin was interred by electric motor beneath the floor of the quire at St George's Chapel in Windsor as the Dean of Windsor delivered his commendation.

While the lowering of the coffin normally takes place in private, the poignant moment was broadcast in front of millions of viewers in a historic first for the royal family.   

The duke is now the 25th Royal in the 200-year-old vault hidden beneath St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

The Dean of Windsor delivered the Duke of Edinburgh's commendation as his coffin was lowered into the Royal Vault

The Dean of Windsor delivered the Duke of Edinburgh's commendation as his coffin was lowered into the Royal Vault 

Members of the royal family watched as Prince Philip's coffin was interred by electric motor beneath the floor of the quire at St George's Chapel in Windsor

Members of the royal family watched as Prince Philip's coffin was interred by electric motor beneath the floor of the quire at St George's Chapel in Windsor

As his coffin was lowered beneath the chapel floor on a catafalque, the duke's styles and titles were read out in full - including His Royal Highness, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich.

Royal Marine buglers sounded 'Action Stations,' an alarm that alerts sailors to prepare for battle, as Prince Philip's coffin, which was draped in his personal standard and carried his sword and naval cap, was lowered into the Royal Vault.

The inclusion of the naval call to arms, after the traditional bugle call of 'The Last Post,' was a personal request from the duke.   

Ahead of Prince Philip's funeral, Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said the televised moment would be a 'unique in British royal history'.

He said: 'I think it will be unique in British royal history if the public get to see this on television.

'Clearly it's an intimate moment, usually only witnessed by the royal family.

'I think it will be regarded as too private. I think it is the sort of thing you might see at funerals in European countries, but not in Britain.'

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