Windsor Castle has reopened to the public today as Brits flock to see the Queen’s final resting place at St George’s Chapel. The former monarch was buried alongside her husband, Prince Philip, and her mother, father, and sister. Buckingham Palace released a photo of the ledger stone that marks the spot where the family are buried. It reads: “George VI 1895-1952” and “Elizabeth 1900-2002” followed by a metal Garter Star, and then “Elizabeth II 1926-2022” and “Philip 1921-2021”.
A steady stream of people filed past the Queen’s final resting place in King George VI Memorial Chapel, pausing before the ledger stone to reflect on the passing of the monarch, some crossing themselves, others paying their respects in silent contemplation. The ledger stone, made of Belgian marble and bearing inscriptions of the names of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Morher, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, was surrounded by wreaths of white roses and lilies.
One royal fan Debra Bullard, 65, from North Carolina, was visiting Windsor Castle as part of a seven-week trip to the UK. The retired teacher, who was waiting in line to enter St George’s Chapel, said: “I just love the Royal Family.”
Ms Bullard explained that her love for the Royal Family started with Princess Diana and her wedding to then Prince Charles in 1981. She added: “That’s what sparked my interest. [Diana] was young and vivacious. She was a teacher. She was innocent when she joined the Royal Family. Camilla has grown on me a little bit.”
On Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Ms Bullard said: “It wasn’t a tragedy like Diana’s. After the celebrations in June, it was almost, not like it was time, but almost like it had come full circle.” At the front of the queue to enter Windsor Castle was Anne Daley and Grace Gothard who got the 5.07am train from Cardiff. The dedicated pair were also number two and three in the queue to see the Queen lying in state at Westminster Hall prior to Her Majesty’s funeral.
The castle was expecting an increased number of visitors as mourners flocked to pay their respects to the late monarch. A long queue snaked around St George’s Chapel with people waiting to file past the Queen’s final resting place.
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St George’s Chapel is not open to the public on Sundays, when it is only open for worship.
Among the first in the queue was Darren Martin who had travelled all the way from Melbourne, Australia. The 43-year-old had queued to see the monarch lying in state, camped out for the funeral and drove to Balmoral, Holyroodhouse and Sandringham to pay his respects.
He said: “I’ve come here today for my final send-off before I go back home. She was somebody that I admired very much for her service, everything that she did and everything she stood for.
“My grandparents liked the Royal Family. My grandmother reminded me of the Queen. As a child I fantasised about my own grandmother being the Queen and that stood with me throughout my life.”