How much does the Queen’s coffin weigh and why is it lead-lined?

·2-min read

Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin has undertaken its procession to Westminster Abbey.

The late monarch is being laid to rest in a state funeral on Monday (19 September).

Draped in the Royal Standard and bearing the Imperial State Crown, orb and sceptre, the coffin was taken from Westminster Hall, where the queen was lying-in-state.

It was placed onto the 123-year-old gun carriage, which took it to Westminster Abbey, where it was brought into New Palace Yard by 98 Royal Navy sailors.

Following on from Westminster Abbey, the Queen will be moved to Windsor Castle.

Why is the Queen’s coffin lead-lined?

According to reports, the Queen’s coffin is made from English oak and lined with lead, which is a traditional choice for members of the royal family.

The i reports that using lead in the coffin prevents air and moisture from building up and therefore helps in preservation.

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The idea of lining the coffin with lead originates in the Victorian era when it was necessary to preserve bodies in an airtight coffin. This is particuarly important when they are laid to rest above ground since the coffin remains open to the elements.

Winston Churchill, who died in 1965, also had a lead-lined coffin.  In modern times, however, zinc is used for the same purpose because it is much thinner than lead and less heavy.

The design of the Queen’s coffin, as per the publication, appears to have been confirmed by Andrew Leverton of Leverton & Sons, the undertakers to the Royal Family.

In a 2018 interview with The Times, Leverton told the publication that the coffin is made of English oak and lined with lead.

PerThe i, it is believed that the late monarch’s coffin would have been built approximately 30 years ago at the same time as the Duke of Edinburgh’s.

The State Gun Carriage carries the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s orb and sceptre, as it leaves Westminster Hall for the State Funeral at Westminster Abbey, London. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022. (PA Wire)
The State Gun Carriage carries the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s orb and sceptre, as it leaves Westminster Hall for the State Funeral at Westminster Abbey, London. Picture date: Monday September 19, 2022. (PA Wire)

How much would the Queen’s coffin weigh?

Due to the lead lining of the coffin, the casket would be very heavy. It has been estimated that it would weigh between 250kg and 317kg.

Eight military bearers have been selected to carry the Queen’s coffin on the day of her funeral.

According to the Ministry of Defence, the bearer party is formed of eight soldiers from the Queen’s Company 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.

You can follow along with live updates of the Queen’s funeral here.