I thought the most moving part of the live broadcasts was after the last ceremonies in London, when her casket arrived in the city’s outskirts to be buried in Windsor Castle and was laid to rest in St. Georges Chapel inside the castle, a lament being played on the bagpipes while the coffin was lowered solemnly into The Royal Vault below. The piper played as he slowly withdrew along a gallery, the sound echoing inside the chapel, gradually receding, while the casket too disappeared into the ground. Her Majesty loved the sound of the bagpipes so much she had them wake her every morning, so it was a fitting performance in the final scene of this feature-length historical epic, The Life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as she fell into eternal slumber, the words “long farewell” running through the mind.
Photo1: The casket being lowered into the vault below
Photo 2: Her Majesty the Queen’s Piper performing his last task. From here he continued playing as he slowly proceeded toward the exit at the end.
When you hear the words “burial,” you tend to imagine a scene where a coffin is “buried,” where it has been lowered into a hole then is covered in soil from above, as you often see in the movies. But in the case of the Spanish royal family, “burial” does not mean the casket is buried in the ground, which is the same as in the vault in Windsor Castle, the tomb of the British royal family. The mausoleum of the Spanish royal family is within the Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escurial, 50 km north of Madrid, and within the mausoleum, there is a place exclusively for burial of the kings and the spouses who gave birth to their heirs. It is the mausoleum of the kings, in the royal vault, called the “Cripta Real” (Royal Crypt), or “Panteón de los Reyes” (Pantheon of the Kings). Photo 3 shows a complete view of the Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escurial. Beneath the dome is the basilica, and the royal vault is below its main altar.
Image 1 shows the layout of the caskets within the royal vault. They start with the casket of Carlos V, called Emperor, who is number 1, and, as though facing him, is the number 2 casket of Queen Isabel. Following on from them are generations of kings, with numbers 25 and 26 reserved for the grandfather of the currently reigning Felipe VI, Juan III* (Count of Barcelona) and his consort, Countess Mercedes. That said, they will not be placed in their caskets immediately after their demise. First, they will be placed in the “Pudridero” (Mortuary of the Deceased), built next to the vault, where their bodies will naturally dry out over 30 to 40 years.
* He did not ascend the throne but is destined to be placed in this mausoleum as he is the son of a king (Alfonso XIII) and the father of a king (Juan Carlos I).
Photo 4 shows part of the mausoleum of the kings.
By the way, the Catholic monarchs of Spain who achieved unification of Spain by overthrowing Granada, the last Moslem stronghold, on January 2, 1492 are buried in the royal chapel beside Granada Cathedral, in commemoration of their achievement. Photo 5 shows lead coffins laid to rest in its underground burial chamber. In the center is Isabel I with Ferdinand II at left, while alongside the right wall are their daughter Juana I and her husband Felipe I, and alongside the left wall is their grandson, Miguel, the Prince of Asturias who met an early death, before turning 2 years of age.
Having been so deeply moved by the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II, my article intrudes into the territory of the reporter in the UK. Forgive me.