Queen Elizabeth’s coffin was made 30 years ago from lead, English oak

  • Memorials to Queen Elizabeth II are underway in the UK and around the world.
  • The Queen’s funeral will take place next Monday at Westminster Abbey.
  • The coffin, made of English oak and lead, itself has a decades-old history.

As many people in the UK and around the world mourn the death of Queen Elizabeth II, British officials and the country’s royal family are preparing for a host of memorials, including the Queen’s funeral next week.

Thereby many procedures associated with the royal family, the coffin itself carries with it a specific history: it was made decades ago with a lead lining which makes it particularly heavy.

The coffin is being airlifted to London on Tuesday, and it will be moved from Buckingham Palace on Wednesday to the Houses of Parliament to lie in state.

But who makes a coffin for a queen? And how is a coffin made for a queen?

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The oak casket was made more than 30 years ago, funeral directors confirmed to USA TODAY. Leverton & Sons, who served as the Royal Household’s funeral director said she inherited the coffin made for the Queen by another firm, Kenyons.

Andrew Leverton, funeral director at Leverton & Sons, previously said UK outlet The Times “It’s made from English oak, which is very hard to come by.”

“Oak caskets are now made from American oak. I don’t think we could use English oak for a coffin now. It would be too expensive,” he told the outlet.

The coffin is also lined with lead, Leverton & Sons said. The lead coating makes the coffin so heavy that eight military pallbearers will carry it on the day of the Queen’s funeral.

September 11: Pallbearers carry the coffin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II as the hearse arrives at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

“It’s not something you can do in a day,” Leverton said, noting that the coffin is also built to place historic royal items inside.

Leverton & Sons declined to comment further on USA TODAY.

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The Crown of Scotland sits on the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II inside St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh on September 12, 2022, during a service of thanksgiving for her life.

Expected burial date

Memorials and commemorations for the Queen have taken many different forms and will continue for many days. Once the Queen’s coffin was placed in Parliament’s Westminster Hall, it will remain in state for four days.

His state funeral will take place on Monday, September 19, and leaders from around the world are expected to attend. The funeral will be marked as a public holiday in the UK, ending a 10-day period of national mourning.

Prince Harry paid tribute to the Queen, his “grandmother” and his “eternal legacy” in his first full public statement since his death last week.

“Thank you for your wise advice,” he wrote. “Thank you for your infectious smile. We, too, smile knowing that you and Grandpa are reunited now, and both at peace.”

People left tributes outside Buckingham Palace in the days after the Queen’s death, including flowers and even marmalade sandwiches, a reference to a comedy skit in which the Queen appeared with an animated Paddington Bear filmed for its platinum jubilee earlier this year.

The Queen, who died at 96, was Britain’s longest-serving monarch.

Contributor: Associated Press; Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY