Your guide to the tombs of the British monarchy

British monarchs are buried in London and around England and most of their graves can be visited today.

Where is British royalty buried? Well the answer to this question is a little complicated because before there were “British” kings and queens, there were “English” and “Scottish” monarchs and before that there were petty kings of Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland. In this article, we will only consider English and later British monarchs (after the unification of the English and Scottish crowns).

The list will also only include locations in Britain and not those buried in foreign countries. For a more comprehensive list, Museum Crush also lists monarchs buried overseas.

Early English monarchs

Winchester Cathedral:

Originally founded in 642, Winchester Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe and was for a long time the most important royal church in Anglo-Saxon England. It is home to many kings of the pre-Norman conquest of Wessex, including Alfred the Great (although his remains have been lost) and King Cnut the Great.

Monarchs buried there include:

  • Cygnelis, d.643
  • Cenwalh, died in 672
  • Egbert of Wessex, d. 839
  • Æthelwulf, d. 855
  • Edred, d. 955
  • Edwig, d. 959
  • Cnut the Great, d. 1035
  • Harthacnut, d. 1042
  • William II, d. 1100

Saint-Barthélemy Church:

St. Bartholomew’s Church in Winchester is also home to some of the former monarchs. It is located just outside the old town walls of Winchester. Alfred the Great (died 899) and his son Edward the Elder were buried here, but in the old church of Hyde Abbey.

But the abbey was dissolved and demolished in 1539 and the tombs were rediscovered hundreds of years later. The remains of Alfred the Great have not been rediscovered with certainty.

Related: What to know about visiting Buckingham Palace to watch the Changing of the Guards

Westminster – Westminster Abbey and Westminster Palace

Westminster Abbey:

Westminster Abbey has been the site of subsequent English coronations since 1066 and has long been the traditional place of internment for monarchs. Westminster Abbey is home to the remains of 17 monarchs as well as some of the country’s other most important historical figures.

Monarchs buried at Westminster Abbey include:

  • Edward the Confessor, d. 1066
  • Edward III, d. 1377
  • Henry VII, m. 1509
  • Elizabeth I, d. 1603
  • Henry III, m. 1272
  • Edward I, d. 1307
  • Richard II, d. 1400: (moved from Kings Langley Church in Hertfordshire by Henry V)
  • Henry V, d. 1422
  • Edward V, d. 1483
  • Edward VI, d. 1553
  • Mary I, d. 1559
  • James VI/I, d. 1625
  • Charles II, m. 1685
  • Mary II, d. 1694
  • Mary, Queen of Scots.
  • William III and II, d. 1702
  • Anna, d. 1714

Windsor Castle:

Another popular resting place for British royalty is Windsor Castle. It is the oldest inhabited castle in the world, being a royal residence for over 1000 years, and remains an official residence of the Queen.

Monarchs here include:

  • Henry VI, m. 1471
  • Henry VIII, m. 1547: (The one with six wives)
  • Charles I, d. 1649: (The one who was beheaded)
  • Edward VII, d. 1910
  • Edward IV, d. 1483
  • George III, m. 1820
  • George IV, m. 1830
  • William IV, d. 1837
  • Edward VII, d. 1910
  • George V, d. 1936
  • George VI, m. 1952

Related: Royal Platinum Jubilee: Why is it such a historic event?

Other Resting Places of British Royalty

Frogmore House in Windsor:

Frogmore House is a mausoleum that grieving Queen Victoria built for her husband, Prince Albert. Later, she too was buried next to her beloved husband. Since 1928, other members of the royal family have been buried there, including Edward VIII who abdicated the throne to marry a divorced woman. The mausoleum is open to the public on special charity days and in August.

  • Victoria, d. 1901
  • Edward VIII, d. 1972: (abdicated)

Tower of London:

The Tower of London is one of London’s most famous buildings and was infamous for being a prison and the execution site of Anne Boleyn and others. Lady Jane Gray was queen for nine days before being deposed and later executed. She was buried inside the Chapel of St Peter Ad Vincula at the Tower.

Leicester Cathedral:

The story of Richard III and his rediscovery under a parking lot is particularly strange. One should read the full story about him below. He was killed in battle, buried in a local cemetery, and then lost for centuries. It was rediscovered in 2013 and today there is a visitor center around it where it was discovered.

Richard III was reinterred in Leicester Cathedral in 2015 and his stone coffin is on display today.

Canterbury Cathedral:

Canterbury Cathedral is the seat of the Church of England and the site of the brutal murder of Thomas Becket in 1170. It is also the burial place of Henry IV as well as his wife, Queen Joan of Navarre. Visitors can see his effigy and that of his wife today.

Worcester Cathedral:

For Robin Hood fans, Worcester Cathedral is the burial place of King John who tried to usurp his brother Richard I and was forced to sign the Magna Carta in 1215.

  • King John, d. 1216: (aka Prince John)

Next: The Parking Lot: The Glorious Burial of England’s King Richard III

Edible seaweed

Living in San Francisco? Go on an algae foraging tour!

About the Author