The Real Reason Queen Elizabeth Didn’t Have An Open Casket

As is customary in British monarchy, Queen Elizabeth II did not have an open casket during her state funeral and committal service on September 19. This is because members of the royal family are typically buried in lead-lined coffins, which are to remain closed to prevent any moisture from getting in — and, in turn, help slow down the body’s decomposition, per Mental Floss. As noted by the outlet, both Prince Philip and Princess Diana were also buried in similarly designed caskets, as were many royals before them, including Elizabeth I and Charles II, according to Westminster Abbey records.

Per The New York Times, plans for what happens next after the death of Queen Elizabeth II had long been set and decided by the monarch herself, together with the government, local authorities, and the news media. Codenamed the “Operation London Bridge”, it ranged from succession plans down to the very small details of her burial service, including her choice of coffin, which was more than 30 years old and made of rare English oak. According to The Telegraph, the queen’s casket was originally manufactured by the specialist firm Henry Smith, and was inherited by JH Kenyon before Leverton and Sons took responsibility in 1991. Speaking to The Times, the firm’s Andrew Leverton said, “It is made from English oak, which is very difficult to get hold of … It is not something you can just make in a day.” Per Express, Her Late Majesty’s coffin is estimated to weigh between around 500 and 700 pounds, and had to be carried by eight pallbearers instead of the normal six.

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