Exterior of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
St George’s Chapel southside which shows the south door entrance. ©The Dean & Canons of Windsor

St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle has been in the spotlight with the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on 19 May 2018 and, more recently, the funeral of Prince Philip on 17 April this year. The television cameras on both occasions captured the Gothic splendour of this 15th-century chapel with the sunlight streaming through the many windows of the nave.

St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
The view of the Nave from the vantage point of The Crossing showing the magnificence of the West Window.  ©The Dean & Canons of Windsor

During the funeral of Prince Philip, there were many references to various vaults and tombs of monarchs buried in the chapel, most notably The Royal Vault where the body of Prince Philip now resides alongside that of kings George III and IV and William IV.

The Quire, St George's Chapel Windsor Castle
The Quire with the many coats of arms of the Knights of the Garter and vaulted ceiling. The Crossing can be seen lit up with the coat of arms of King Henry VIII. This part of the vaulting was completed in 1528 during his reign. ©The Dean & Canons of Windsor

Further back in the same pavement is the smaller vault housing the coffins of King Henry VIII alongside his third wife Jane Seymour and that of King Charles I (with his head originally sewn back on!).

People may be surprised to learn that there are another five kings buried in the chapel bringing the total to 10.  In the South Nave Aisle is Her Majesty The Queen’s grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary, and further up is the chapel of her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, plus Princess Margaret, the Queen’s only sister. 

Probably the most important vault is that of King Edward IV who founded the chapel back in 1475 and was the first Yorkist king of England back in 1461.  His reign was interrupted by the Wars of the Roses; he was king twice from 1461-1470 and then 1471-1483.  He is tucked away at the top of the North Quire Aisle and is very often missed.  Visitors may be interested to know that he is buried with his queen, Elizabeth Woodville, who was the first commoner to marry into the royal family.

Across the other side of the Quire is buried Edward IV’s nemesis, King Henry VI, a Lancastrian king who died in the Tower of London in 1471 on Edward’s orders.  Henry VI is best known for the founding of Eton College, just across the River Thames, in 1440, plus Kings College, Cambridge.  Right next to Henry is Her Majesty The Queen’s great-grandparents, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.  The king's feet are resting on a stone effigy of his favourite dog Caesar.

Visitors to St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
The view of the Nave looking towards the Quire with the organ loft separating the two. ©The Dean & Canons of Windsor

Visitors have the luxury of following the route around the chapel using the Windsor Castle audio guide but there are also members of the Guild of Stewards who are on duty every day to answer questions.  They all wear gowns in the murrey red of the founder, King Edward IV. 

The chapel is the home of the world’s oldest order of chivalry, The Knights of the Garter, founded in 1348 by King Edward III.  If a visitor has any questions about a Knight of the Garter, there is a huge book in the Quire that has all the details of every Knight of the Garter that can be accessed by stewards at any time.  That is one of the many delights of working as a steward and it is regarded as a privilege to be able to work in probably the most magnificent and beautiful chapel in the whole of England. 
 

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St George's Chapel
Church / Chapel
St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle

Take in the splendour of St George's Chapel, the burial place of 10 monarchs including Henry VIII and Charles I, and one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in England.

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