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 committal service of Queen Elizabeth II (19 September 2022), the funeral of Prince Philip (17 April 2021) and the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (19 May 2018). On each occasion, television cameras 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

St George's Chapel is the burial place of 11 kings and queens.  TV commentators make many references to the various vaults and tombs of monarchs buried in the chapel.  These include The Royal Vault where the bodies of kings George III and IV and William IV reside.

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!).

In the South Nave Aisle is Queen Elizabeth II’s grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary.  Further up is The King George VI Memorial Chapel where Queen Elizabeth II is buried next to her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, and alongside her father King George VI, her mother Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and her sister Princess Margaret.

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 Queen Elizabeth II’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. 

This blog was originally posted in 2021 and updated in 2022 after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.


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 11 monarchs including Queen Elizabeth II, Henry VIII and Charles I, and one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in England.



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