Last night, while reading about the Unknown Soldier, it struck me that I had seen the graves of at least 3 kings. I am not a royalty fan as a rule, because a lot of the misery in this world was caused by their petty squabbles, minor wars, appetite for vast amounts of money and a generally “holier than thou” attitude. Fortunately Queen Elizabeth II has managed to be a sensible monarch and that has helped a lot.
In this post I am going to root amongst my images and post the graves of “royalty”, and hopefully settle them in my mind because frankly I can never remember which one reigned when and where they ended up being buried.
My first king is to be found in Worcester Cathedral.
This is the tomb of King John, He was king of England from 6 April 1199 until his death in 1216. He is generally considered to be a “hard-working administrator, an able man, and an able general”. Although it is acknowledged that he had many faults, including pettiness, spitefulness, and cruelty, so much so that along with his crony “The Sheriff on Nottingham”. He is the bad guy associated with Robin Hood. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John,_King_of_England)
Gloucester Cathedral is where Osric, the King of Hwicce, may be found. I have to admit I need to look up where Hwicce is (or was). It encompasses parts of Worcester, Gloucestershire and Warwickshire. Technically I live in Hwicce.
Osric also shares the Cathedral with Edward II, who reigned from 7 July 1307 – 25 January 1327, and he has been seen as a failure as a king, labelled as “lazy and incompetent, liable to outbursts of temper over unimportant issues, yet indecisive when it came to major issues”, he has also been called “incompetent and vicious”, and “no man of business”. Like many kings he overspent, although he did inherit a lot of the debt from his father Edward I. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_II_of_England)
He lived from 13 October 1453 till his untimely death on 4 May 1471 during or after the Battle of Tewkesbury.
Moving northwards to Staffordshire we can briefly visit Lichfield Cathedral which does not have a king buried within it’s walls, but rather we can look upon the mouldering statue of Charles II who lived from 1630 till 1685. His claim to fame is that he gave money and timber to the cathedral to restore it following the ravages of the civil war. In reality he is buried in Westminster Abbey.
Westminster Abbey is the destination I was aiming for because this is where we find the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier that was buried among the Kings.
“THEY BURIED HIM AMONG THE KINGS BECAUSE HE
HAD DONE GOOD TOWARDS GOD AND TOWARD
Could we say the same about the the kings buried in the sumptuous surrounds of the Abbey?
To my regret I never visited the interior of the Abbey, I was fortunate enough that a door monitor allowed me to briefly glimpse the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and I quickly shot 3 pics before being shown the door again. Thank you, whoever you were.
Unfortunately, Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral do not allow photography within the buildings so it was not really worth standing in the very long queue.
The list of kings and their consorts buried in Westminster Abbey is quite a long one (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burials_and_memorials_in_Westminster_Abbey)
- Sæberht of Essex
- St Edward the Confessor and his wife, Edith of Wessex
- Henry III of England
- Edward I of England and his wife, Eleanor of Castile
- Edward III of England and his wife, Philippa of Hainault
- Richard II of England and his wife, Anne of Bohemia
- Henry V of England and his wife, Catherine of Valois
- Edward V of England
- Anne Neville, wife of Richard III
- Henry VII of England and his wife, Elizabeth of York
- Edward VI of England
- Anne of Cleves, wife of King Henry VIII
- Mary I of England
- Elizabeth I of England
- James I
- James VI & I of Scotland England and Ireland and his wife, Anne of Denmark
- Charles II of England and Scotland
- Mary II of England and Scotland
- William III of England and II of Scotland
- Anne, Queen of Great Britain and her husband, Prince George of Denmark
- George II of Great Britain and his wife, Caroline of Ansbach
Many other kings found their last resting place to be less than satisfactory.
King Richard III was recently exhumed from the car park where he was buried. Of course at the time of his death that site was not a car park, but was “in the choir of the Friars Minor at Leicester”. After being identified through DNA he was reburied in Leicester Cathedral in 2015.
King Henry I is supposedly buried in Reading Abbey. That unfortunate building is now a series of ruins, but investigations were conducted at Reading Prison which is next to the abbey. Reading Abbey was founded by Henry I in 1121 and was always known to have been the final resting place of the King and his Queen Adeliza. When I was there in 2015 it had been cordoned off because of falling masonry. Consequently my pics were taken through the fence. The bottom right image in the group below is the gateway of the abbey and it is labelled as 16 on the diagram below
That pretty much concludes my brief visit to kings gone by. I hope to expand on this post at a later date as my reading takes me deeper into this aspect of history.
As an aside, Elvis “the King” is buried in the Meditation Garden at Graceland mansion at 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis. Just thought you would like to know.
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