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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Regina

The interment of Queen Victoria

Updated: Feb 5

© Copyright 2024 Bridgeman Art Library Limited

On this day in 1901, Queen Victoria's body was interred next to her husband Prince Albert, in The Royal Mausoleum on the Frogmore Estate. The mausoleum itself had been the resting place of the late Prince Consort for 40 years prior to Victoria's death. The mausoleum had been built in 1862, a year after Prince Alberts death. Queen Victoria requested Prince Albert's principal artistic advisor Ludwig Gruner to oversee the building and design of The Mausoleum, but Queen Victoria remained heavily involved in all elements of its design.

Queen Victoria's body had been laying in state for two days after her funeral in the Albert Memorial Chapel located inside Windsor Castle. Her body was guarded by officers of the Grenadier Guards and was transported to her final resting place by the Royal Horse Artillery.

Of all the ceremonies, this was the simplest but most impressive of all the ceremonies mourning the death of Queen Victoria. The coffin of Queen Victoria was carried once again by gun carriage but this time by bay coloured horses. The roads from Windsor to Frogmore were lined by The Life Guards, staff of the royal household and all those with connection to Windsor Castle. At the foot of the slope leading into the grounds of Frogmore, The Guards relieved The Lifeguards and the procession turned into Frogmore Road. The road and grounds were kept private apart from the soldier lining the route, family and the pipers. The gun carriage slowly made its way towards the mausoleum, the pipers blew a sorrowful lament as the gun carriage reached the steps of the mausoleum, then there was complete silence. Her children, grand children and great grandchildren all following her coffin as it was carried into her final resting place.

The Royal Household © Crown Copyright

The service was relatively short but had an addition of a prayer of thanksgiving for the Queen's life which was inserted by the Bishop of Winchester just before the blessing. When the service drew to a close the pipers played the Highland lament 'Flowers of the Forest' as her coffin was slowly lowered by her Lifeguards into the gray granite sarcophagus beside her beloved consort. The service ended with the Royal Family passing the tomb in single file across the platform strategically placed so the family were looking upon the two coffins laid side by side. As the Royal Family left the mausoleum the stone slab was placed over the tomb and sealed.

The effigy of the late Queen which would be placed upon her side of the sealed sarcophagus had not been brought to Frogmore until after the final funeral and it could not be located immediately after her death. The effigies were carved both at the same time by Baton Carlo Marochetti who had died in 1867, no one could remember where the late Queens effigy was. Eventually the Queen's effigy was discovered ‘walled up in the stores at Windsor’ where it had been since around 1865.

Glass plate negative of Queen Victoria's recumbent statue (or a plaster model of it), created by Baron Carlo Marochetti © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III

The queen's figure is shown as if in eternal slumber, her head and shoulders resting on covered cushions. She appears to wear a long cloak and William IV's diadem, her hands crossed on her stomach holding the coronation sceptre. Her head is slightly turned to the side, designed so that she faces Albert's effigy which would eventually be next to hers.

Thank you for reading todays blog, I am looking forward to the upcoming months and the future of my blog. In my next blog I will be covering the Royal Mausoleum in Frogmore, I also have some exciting plans for the upcoming months.

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