The special meaning behind the symbol on Queen and Philip's gravestone

·2-min read
Photo credit: Jeff Spicer - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jeff Spicer - Getty Images

Earlier this week, Queen Elizabeth II was laid to rest alongside her family at the George VI Memorial Chapel in Windsor. Now, more details about her gravestone have been released, and there's a special meaning behind the symbol on it.

To recap, the late monarch was buried with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, as well as her parents and her sister. A new ledger stone was made for the burial, replacing a black slab naming George VI and Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

The fresh stone now features the names of the Queen and Prince Philip, as well as a metal star of the Order of the Garter. The names of George VI and the Queen Mother are also inscribed on the stone – which is set into the floor – as well as the dates of when all four were born, along with the years of their deaths.

Photo credit: Christopher Furlong - Getty Images
Photo credit: Christopher Furlong - Getty Images

Inscribed on the stone is: "George VI 1895-1952" and "Elizabeth 1900-2002", followed by the metal star, then "Elizabeth II 1926-2022" and "Philip 1921-2021".

So, what's the special meaning behind the metal star?

According to the Royal Family's official website, "In medieval times, King Edward III was so inspired by tales of King Arthur and the chivalry of the Knights of the Round Table that he set up his own group of honourable knights, called the Order of the Garter."

Fast forward almost 700 years, and you'll soon understand what the Order of the Garter and that metal star has to do with Queen Elizabeth II and her family. In modern times, the Order is made up of the reigning monarch (who is Sovereign of the Garter) as well as several senior members of the Royal Family and twenty-four knights chosen in recognition of their work.

Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, King George VI and the Queen Mother were all members of the Order of the Garter, so they are buried at St George's Chapel – the Order's spiritual home. That's because the patron saint of the Order is St George (patron saint of soldiers and also of England).

Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images

As for where the metal star comes in, that is a symbol of the Order of the Garter, and you might have noticed it being worn by Her Majesty and other high-profile royals during formal events.

Can you visit the Queen's grave?

The answer to that question is yes, although visitors are reminded that the chapel is also local church for the nearby community and it's unclear how close the general public will be able to get to the Queen's final resting place, which is tucked into one side of the chapel.

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