Was Queen Elizabeth embalmed? Royal history of lead lined coffins and more explained (2023)

Late Queen Elizabeth II has been lying in state for four days before she is set to be transported to Westminster Abbey for the State Funeral on September 19. The longest-reining monarch of Great Britain passed away on September 8, 2022, at the age of 96 in the Balmoral Castle.

Following the Queen's death, her son Charles III was named the King while his wife Camilla Parker Bowles became the Queen Consort.

The late Queen's coffin has been in Westminster Hall for the last four days with millions of people visiting to pay their last respects.

With Queen Elizabeth's coffin being kept open for the public, people have wondered how they managed to preserve her body. It has now been confirmed that the Queen was embalmed. Additionally, a report from CBS said:

“Following a centuries-old tradition for royals, the Queen’s coffin is lined with lead, which helps prevent a body from decomposing for longer. The lead also makes the coffin significantly heavier, meaning eight pallbearers will be needed to carry it.”

The Queen’s casket was made 30 years ago with English oak and weighs anywhere between 550lb to 700lb.

Tower Bridge lit up in purple to honour Queen Elizabeth II. https://t.co/aF9X66n5q3

Embalming is done to the body normally by injecting a preservative into an artery and is often done in order to sterilize or protect the body from decay. At the same time, lining the coffins with lead helps ensure that moisture doesn't get inside the coffin. This shows down the decomposition process and ensures that the smell and toxins do not escape the coffin.

Was Queen Elizabeth embalmed? Royal history of lead lined coffins and more explained (1)

(Video) Why Queen Elizabeth II was buried in a lead coffin? Understand macabra origin

Everything to know about Queen Elizabeth’s embalming procedure

TikTok user AskTheUndertakr gained massive traction after creating a video dedicated to Queen Elizabeth's possible embalming process. The user revealed:

“Because of the wealth and the stature and influence that the Royal Family has, they would secure the best embalmers, the best facilities, the best of everything… no expense would be spared when it comes to the care and preparation of the Queen’s body.”
Ladies-in-Waiting to Queen Elizabeth II arrive at the funeral of their mistress.These were The Queen’s most loyal aides - some serving for many decades. https://t.co/ss9t4NBsiP

He claimed that the procedure may have occurred at the earliest following Queen Elizabeth’s passing and would have “gone on for hours” before completion. He added that the Royal Family would have done everything to make sure that the Queen's body was well-preserved and "restored to an almost near-perfect condition.”

Along with the assured lead-lining, the TikToker claimed that a “cooling device” must have been placed below the coffin. However, this wasn't officially confirmed at the time of writing this article.

Which other Royal Family members have been embalmed?

In 1603, Queen Elizabeth I was embalmed at the age of 69. Her body was then guarded at Whitehall Palace for three weeks prior to being laid to rest.

Lady Elizabeth Southwell, her maid of honor, revealed that six women watched over the coffin during the night when they heard her body and head "crack." The cracking must have taken place due to the build-up of gasses.

Queen Victoria, meanwhile, refused to be embalmed and in 1901, after her death, charcoal was scattered around the coffin to combat the smell.

Queen Elizabeth II longtime dresser Angela Kelly shares how the Queen told her she had an urge to pose for a photo with her hands in her pockets, a pose which she hadn't been photographed in before. #QueenElizabethII #QueenElizabeth https://t.co/CI28liazaw

Queen Elizabeth's father King George VI was also embalmed. This was shown in the first season of the television series The Crown.

The Queen's late husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who passed away in 2021, was buried in a lead-lined coffin. Diana, the Princess of Wales, was also laid to rest in similar fashion after her death in 1997.

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