State funeral of Edward VII

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State funeral of Edward VII, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Emperor of India
Funeral of Edward VII -1910 -cropped.JPG
The funeral procession of King Edward VII, passing through Windsor.
DateFriday, 20 May 1910 (1910-05-20)
LocationSt George's Chapel, Windsor Castle (official ceremony)
ParticipantsBritish royal family

The state funeral of Edward VII, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India, occurred on Friday, 20 May 1910.

The funeral was the largest gathering of European royalty ever to take place, with representatives of 70 states, and the last before many royal families were deposed in the First World War and its aftermath.[1]


The lying-in-state of King Edward VII in Westminster Hall, 17-19 May 1910.

King Edward VII had died on 6 May, and following a private lying in state in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace,[2] on 17 May the coffin was taken in procession to Westminster Hall, where there was a public lying in state.[3] This was the first to be held in the hall for a member of the Royal Family and was inspired by the lying in state of William Gladstone there in 1898.[2] On the first day, thousands of members of the public queued patiently in the rain to pay their respects; some 25,000 people were turned away when the gates were closed at 10 pm. On 19 May, Kaiser Wilhelm II wanted to have the hall closed while he laid a wreath; however, the police advised that there might be disorder if that happened, so the Kaiser was taken in through another entrance while the public continued to file past.[4] An estimated half a million people visited the hall during the three days that it was open.[5]

The body of the late King lying on bed, 20 May 1910

The funeral was held two weeks after the king's death on 20 May. Huge crowds, estimated at between three and five million, gathered to watch the procession, the route of which was lined by 35,000 soldiers.[6] It passed from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, where a small ceremony was conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Randall Davidson, before a small group of official mourners – the late King's widow Queen Alexandra, his son King George V, his daughter The Princess Victoria, his brother the Duke of Connaught, and his nephew the German Emperor. The remainder of the funeral party waited outside the Hall, consisting of thousands of people. Big Ben, the bell in the nearby clock tower, was rung 68 times, one for each year of Edward VII's life. This was the first time it was used in this way at a monarch's funeral.[7]

The whole procession then proceeded from Westminster Hall, via Whitehall and the Mall, from Hyde Park Corner up to the Marble Arch, and thence to Paddington Station; from there, a funeral train conveyed the mourners to Windsor.[2] The mourners used the Royal Train, which together with the funeral car built for Queen Victoria, was hauled by the GWR 4000 Class locomotive King Edward.[8] From the station, the procession then continued on to Windsor Castle, and a full funeral ceremony was held in St George's Chapel. The funeral service followed the format used for Queen Victoria, except that it included the interment within the chapel, whereas Victoria had been interred at Royal Mausoleum, Frogmore. The liturgy was closely based on the Order for The Burial of the Dead from the Book of Common Prayer. Queen Alexandra had specifically requested an anthem by Sir Arthur Sullivan, Brother, thou art gone before us, however Archbishop Davidson and other senior clerics thought that the piece lacked sufficient gravitas and Alexandra was persuaded to accept instead His Body Is Buried In Peace, the chorus from George Frideric Handel's Funeral Anthem For Queen Caroline.[2]

The funeral directors to the Royal Household appointed to assist during this occasion were the family business of William Banting of St James's Street, London. The Banting family also conducted the funerals of King George III in 1820, King George IV in 1830, the Duke of Gloucester in 1834, the Duke of Wellington in 1852, Prince Albert in 1861, Prince Leopold in 1884, and Queen Victoria in 1901. The royal undertaking warrant for the Banting family ended in 1928 with the retirement of William Westport Banting.[9]

Edward's body was provisionally buried in the Royal Vault at Windsor under the Albert Chapel. On the instructions of Queen Alexandra, a monument was designed and executed by Bertram Mackennal in 1919, featuring tomb effigies of the king and queen in white marble mounted on a black and green marble sarcophagus, where both bodies were buried after the queen's death in 1925 in the South Aisle. The monument includes a depiction of Edward's favourite dog, Caesar, lying at his feet.[10]

People in the procession[edit]

The Nine Sovereigns at Windsor for the funeral of King Edward VII, photographed on 20 May 1910. Standing, from left to right: Haakon VII of Norway, Ferdinand of Bulgaria, Manuel II of Portugal, Wilhelm II of Germany, George I of Greece and Albert I of Belgium. Seated, from left to right: Alfonso XIII of Spain, George V of the United Kingdom and Frederick VIII of Denmark.
Ceremonial funeral procession of King Edward VII (1901-1910) passing through the streets of London on May 20, 1910. Views of the moving casket, heads of state walking behind the casket, the royal carriage, and various marching military units. Attending the ceremony were Kaiser Wilhelm II, Stéphen Pichon, kings of Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and Theodore Roosevelt.

The funeral was notable for the enormous number of important European and world royalty who participated in it. The funeral procession saw a horseback procession, followed by 11 carriages.

Figures on horseback included the following, along with various military figures and equerries (given roughly in the order they rode:

Procession of the Nine Kings, an artist's impression by Harry Payne.

Those who followed behind in the carriages included:

Other relatives of the late king also attended the funeral:[12]


  1. ^ Tuchman 2014, p. 1.
  2. ^ a b c d Range, Matthias (2016). British Royal and State Funerals: Music and Ceremonial since Elizabeth I. Boydell Press. pp. 277=278. ISBN 978-1783270927.
  3. ^ "Plaque: Westminster Hall - Edward VII". London Remembers. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  4. ^ Hibbert, Christopher (2007). Edward VII: The Last Victorian King. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 318. ISBN 978-1-4039-8377-0.
  5. ^ Quigley, Christine (2005). The Corpse: A History. Jefferson NC: McFarland & Co. p. 67. ISBN 978-0786424498.
  6. ^ Hopkins, John Castell (1910). The Life of King Edward VII. Palala Press (2016 reprint). p. 342. ISBN 978-1356057740.
  7. ^ Weinreb & Hibbert 1992, p. 66
  8. ^ Maggs, Colin (2011). The Branch Lines of Berkshire. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Amberley Publishing. p. 10. ISBN 978-1848683471.
  9. ^ Todd Van Beck, "The Death and State Funeral of Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill", part II, in Canadian Funeral News (October 2012), Vol. 40 Issue 10, p. 10 (online Archived 2014-03-16 at the Wayback Machine)
  10. ^ Dodson, Aidan (2004). The Royal Tombs of Great Britain: An Illustrated History. Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd. p. 145. ISBN 978-0715633106.
  11. ^ Tuchman 2014, p. 6.
  12. ^ "The London Gazette, Supplement:28401, Page:5471". TSO. 26 July 1910. Retrieved 24 November 2019.


Media related to Funeral of Edward VII of the United Kingdom at Wikimedia Commons