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Prince Philip: What Is The Royal Vault Where He'll Be Buried?

Prince Philip: What Is The Royal Vault?
April 16, 2021 - 22:15 / Lucas Anderson

On Saturday, April 17, Prince Philip will be interred in the Royal Vault at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle. What exactly is this "Royal Vault" and who else is buried there? Here's a look at the history of the Royal Vault, the famed royals who rest there, and why the Duke of Edinburgh's interment in the vault will only be temporary.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, passed away on April 9 at the age of 99. The Duke's funeral will be held on April 17 and, following the ceremony, he will be interred in the Royal Vault at St. George's Chapel.

Prince Philip: What is the Royal Vault?

The Royal Vault is one of several burial sites within St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Royals have been interred in the chapel since the 15th century, but the Royal Vault was created in the early 1800s by King George III. It's an underground chamber that was primarily used in the 19th century and on a few occasions in the 20th.

King George III had the Royal Vault created in the early 1800s. 

Many well-known royals were buried in the Royal Vault, including several monarchs: George III, George IV, and William IV still rest there today. This Saturday, Prince Philip will become the first royal buried in the vault since his own mother Princess Alice was in 1969, though her coffin was relocated to Jerusalem in the 1980s.

However, it's been reported that the vault will not be the Duke of Edinburgh's final resting place either. He will be interred in the Royal Vault until his wife, Queen Elizabeth II, passes on, at which time he'll be relocated to the King George VI Memorial Chapel and rest next to her.

Prince Philip to be reburied when the Queen dies

George VI, the father of The Queen, was also initially interred in the Royal Vault upon his death in 1952. The memorial chapel in his name was constructed in 1969, when he was reburied there. Since then, Princess Margaret and The Queen Mother have also been buried in the King George VI Memorial Chapel.

The coffin of King George VI, days before interment in the Royal Vault, 1952.

Prince Philip's funeral will be held on April 17. When Buckingham Palace announced details of the ceremony, the announcement noted: "At the conclusion of the Service, The Duke of Edinburgh's Coffin will be lowered into the Royal Vault."

Read more on the Duke's special request regarding Land Rovers for his funeral here.