Queen Victorias Funeral
Queen Victoria died on January 22 1901 at her residence, Osborne House , on the Isle of White . It took some time to make the necessary arrangements for what would obviously be a massive public and state occasion: on February 1 her body was taken to Portsmouth , and the following day, a Saturday, it was brought to London, and thence was taken by train to Windsor station, where it arrived at about 3pm.
The late Queen Victoria had given certain orders regarding her funeral procession: strangely for a woman who spent much of her adult life in mourning, there were to be no black horses; and she had insisted that changes be made to the gun carriage which would bear her coffin – it was to have rubber tyres to avoid undignified bumping.
February 2 was a cold, snowy day, and perhaps because of the cold a fixture on the carriage broke. Rather than wait the naval detachment beside the vehicle took up the traces and dragged it to Windsor Castle , establishing a tradition.
The funeral procession was one of the first great British events to be filmed, and impressive it was, though given what would occur 13 years on it seems strange to see Edward VII walking behind the carriage next to Kaiser Wilhelm.
The funeral service itself was carried out by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Winchester, and the Dean of Windsor, at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, and was followed by a lying in state at the Albert Memorial Chapel until February 4, after which the coffin was interred in the Frogmore Mausoleum beside Queen Victoria’s beloved husband Albert .
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