Chapel at Windsor Castle venue for historic royal funerals

Taz Ali, PA
·3 min read

Windsor Castle has been the setting for many funerals for the British monarchy, with the Duke of Edinburgh’s service to be the first in 16 years.

The last funeral at St George’s Chapel in the regal palace was for Sir Angus Ogilvy, husband of Princess Alexandra, on January 5 2005.

Sir Angus died on Boxing Day the previous year at the age of 76 after a series of cancer-related illnesses.

His wife, the Queen’s cousin, led mourners, who included 31 other members of the royal family as well as former King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, at the funeral service.

Sir Angus Ogilvy funeral at Windsor Castle
Princess Alexandra follows the coffin of her husband Sir Angus Ogilvy (Kirsty Wigglesworth/WPA Rota/PA)

The Prince of Wales and the now Duchess of Cornwall, who is a friend of the Ogilvy family, also attended, although it was understood at the time that she did not sit next to Charles or other royals during the private service.

The funeral took place before Charles and Camilla were married in April that year in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall.

Other senior royals at the funeral included the Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and husband Rear Admiral Timothy Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.

Princess Alice funeral
The Queen and Philip at the funeral of her aunt, Princess Alice (John Stillwell/PA)

Two months before, royals had gathered at Windsor Castle for the funeral of Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, who had died aged 102.

She was laid to rest at Frogmore following a service in St George’s Chapel on November 5 2004.

She was the oldest British royal in history but had not been seen in public for many years after becoming increasingly frail.

The chapel also hosted the funeral of the Queen’s only sibling, Princess Margaret, who died aged 71 after suffering a stroke.

Princess Margaret hearse leaves Windsor Castle
The hearse carrying the coffin of Princess Margaret leaves Windsor Castle (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Organ music from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake filled the chapel during the service on February 15 2002, a nod to Margaret’s great love and support of ballet.

In a break with royal tradition, the princess had said she wanted to be cremated in a simple and private ceremony, and requested no members of her family should witness the cremation.

The Queen made a tearful farewell to her younger sister, with the service taking place on the 50th anniversary of their father King George VI’s funeral at the same chapel.

Funeral of King George VI at Windsor
The funeral of King George VI at St George’s Chapel (PA)

The Queen acceded to the throne following the death of George VI in 1952, and his was the last state funeral for a member of the royal family – something that is generally reserved for monarchs.

The 15th-century Gothic chapel, in the lower ward of Windsor Castle precincts, is the resting place of 10 monarchs.

The remains of Henry VIII and the beheaded Charles I are entombed there, along with the bodies of the Queen’s parents, George VI and the Queen Mother.