Why are lead coffins used in the burial of British royalty?

After 70 years of reign the queen Elizabeth II passed away last Thursday (8) and ended a long history on the throne of the United Kingdom, giving way to his heir, the now King Charles III.

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The next few days will be devoted to funeral arrangements and celebrations across the UK regions, until the day when Her Majesty will find her eternal rest in a lead coated coffin.

O lead lined coffin it is a practice that has followed members of the royal family for centuries. These models are usually made of English oak and are much heavier than normal coffins, reaching over 250 kilos.

But why line the coffin in lead?

Westminster Abbey.  Photo: Pixabay
Westminster Abbey. Photo: Pixabay

The material allows an airtight closure. With the opening seal made of heavy, malleable metal, the passage of air into the container is completely blocked, preventing the movement of particles with the potential to accelerate the degradation of the body for up to a year.

For at least four centuries lead coffins have been used in the burial of members of British royalty. Westminster Abbey records state that Elizabeth I (1533-1603) and Charles II (1630-1685) were buried in metal-lined molds, as was the noble Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596), famous navigator and vice admiral of the Kingdom of England, and the revered composer George Frederic Handel (1685-1759).


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About Hrishikesh Bhardwaj

Tv specialist. Falls down a lot. Typical troublemaker. Hipster-friendly advocate. Food fan.

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