This article updated February 2012

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See also

Royal Funerals at Windsor - Index Proclamation of Queen Elizabeth II The Royal Windsor Home Page State Visits in Windsor

Royal Windsor History Index

Accession of George V

A note about picture sizes: This article was first loaded on the web when internet speeds were much slower and so to ensure pictures arrived reasonably quickly, they were reduced in size. More recent photographs have been included larger as data speeds are now much faster and the images will arrive very quickly. In due course the article will be revised and all photographs increased in size.

The Funeral of King Edward VII

Windsor, May 20th 1910

Edward VII

Edward VII was born on November 9, 1841, the eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. He married Princess Alexandra of Denmark in 1863 and they had three sons and three daughters. Queen Victoria would not involve Edward, Prince of Wales, in official government matters and Edward chose to indulge in a wild social life becoming implicated more than once in divorce cases.

Edward VII photographed by Lord Redesdale

Edward VII photographed by Lord Redesdale.
Balmoral, October 1904

Edward succeeded to the throne upon Victoria's death in 1901, the original Coronation date being set for 26th June 1902, but, due to illness, it was postponed until 9th August 1902. [Read Samuel Wilkinson's diary entry for Coronation Day in Windsor here - Editor]
  Despite his reputation, Edward VII was committed to his regal role. He played an active part in foreign policy, for example, and despite his social indiscretions was popular as a monarch.
  Edward died at Sandringham on May 6th, 1910, after a series of heart attacks. His coffin lay in state in Westminster Hall before being taken through the streets of London and on to Windsor by train. The funeral was held in St George's Chapel where he was buried on May 20th 1910. His funeral procession is said to have been one of the the first occasions when colour news film, Kinemacolor, was used.
  The Funeral Procession started at Windsor Central Station (GWR) after a steam train had brought the coffin and mourners from London's Paddington Station. Naval ratings pulled the coffin on a gun carriage up the hill out of the station, right into the High Street, past the Guildhall and Parish Church and into the Long Walk by the Park Street gateway. The procession then turned left up the hill towards the castle and proceeded through the Upper Ward and Middle Ward, by the Round Tower, and down the hill into the Lower Ward, finally turning into the Horseshoe Cloisters and the steps of St George's Chapel.

Edward VII funeral procession

The funeral procession of Edward VII passes along Park Street drawn by naval ratings.
(With thanks to Pat Larkin for identifying the view.)

A stereoview of the funeral cortège passing the former GPO building at the junction of `the High Street, Park Street and Sheet Street

A similar view taken at much the same time

A close up of the naval ratings (the 'Bluecoats)


Mourners following the king's funeral cortege.

Funeral Train

The Funeral Train passes through Ealing with crowds lining the trackside.

Apparently, on the return journey from Windsor to Paddington, the train used the 'slow' line as a result of a mishap to an engine at Slough while the Funeral train was at Windsor. A postcard, reproduced below, was published by E Pouteau, 231a, Grays Inn Road, W.C. of the train returning to London.

Royal Train Wrong Line

The Royal Train pictured here on the Windsor to Slough line on the 'wrong' tracks because of an incident at Slough. The train was returning to London, Paddington after bringing the coffin of Edward VII and mourners to Windsor.

Funeral Train on Windsor Branch line

Another image of the Royal Train on the Windsor branch line.

Leaving Central Station

The courtège emerges from Windsor's Central Station

At the top of Peascod Street

Passing Barclays Bank at the junction with Peascod Street, pulled by naval ratings, the 'Blue Coats'

Nine monarchs passing the Guildhall

The nine monarchs and the Duke of Cornwall passing The Guildhall

Passing through High Street

The courtège has just passed the Guildhall, top, and is coming to the Parish Church

George V on horseback

On horseback are King George V, with The German Emperor, to the king's right, with The Duke of Connaught to the right of the picture

Lower Ward

The Funeral Procession passes down the hill in Lower Ward

In Lower Ward

The Funeral Procession turns towards The Horseshoe Cloisters

Leaving Lower Ward

The Funeral Procession passes from the Lower Ward into the Horseshoe Cloisters with the steps of St George's Chapel beyond.

Note the floral tributes (top R) on the grass displayed for the public to view and a top hat removed and placed on the ground (bottom L of centre) as the cortege passes.

Arrival at St George's Chapel

The king's coffin arrives at the steps of St George's Chapel

Entering St George's Chapel.

Entering St George's Chapel

Flowers on the lawns outside St George's Chapel

The above postcards are from our archive of postcards dating from 1910.

A Personal Reminiscence of the Funeral
History dated 1929

In addition to King George V there were 8 crowned heads in the procession - the German Emperor, the Kings of Norway, Greece and Spain, of Bulgaria, Denmark and Portugal, and the King of the Belgians; in addition to our own Royal Princes, about 30 others, including the Archduke, Franz Ferdinand of Austria, were present.
  After a long time of waiting, the Royal train arrived at Windsor, bearing the body of King Edward.
  The coffin was placed on the bier, and the wonderful procession of Royalties started, on foot, through the High Street, Windsor, to the Long Walk and so up to the Castle and downhill again to the West door of St. George's Chapel.
  When the Royal personages had taken their places in the Chapel, the silence was broken by the wonderful words of the Funeral Service until the voice of Garter King of Arms was raised announcing the death of King Edward VII and the accession of King George V.
  No one who actually saw or took part in the proceedings of 20th May 1910 is ever likely to forget them,
  So it was over, those few short years of the reign of King Edward VII, who now lay in the Tomb House under St. George's Chapel, waiting for the day in which he would be joined by his gracious Consort, Queen Alexandra.
  There seemed to be a great void in the world. The concourse of Royalty at the funeral testified to the peculiar position of King Edward as, to quote a foreign jest, the 'Uncle of Europe'.
  This gathering was, nevertheless, more than a mere family gathering, it was the mustering of a profession. King Edward himself had said that "his profession was to be a King and for this profession he had trained himself throughout his life".
  Those who followed him to the grave were either trained for the same calling, or in training - learning their business.
  After a lapse of nearly 20 years, the onlooker and historian can form an opinion on this profession, and whether he would congratulate or condole with any person who had to take it up.
  There follows a list of the names of the Royal personages who attended the funeral of King Edward VII and their fates in the following years.

  • William II, German Emperor - a lonely, discredited exile in Holland, and George, King of the Hellenes - assassinated at Salonica.
  • Manoel II, King of Portugal - driven from his throne and exiled in England during the revolution of 5th October 1910.
  • Ferdinand, King of Bulgaria - abdicated.
  • Albert, King of the Belgians - driven from all but a corner of his country during four years of war.
  • Alfonso, King of Spain XIII an exile from his country. (1931)
  • Archduke Franz Ferdinand of' Austria - assassinated at Sarajevo, June, 1914.
  • Constantine, Duke of Sparta, afterwards King of the Hellenes twice deposed and died prematurely.
  • Prince Michael Alexandrovitch of Russia - murdered by the Bolsheviks, 1917.

A 'behind the scenes' story!

We have received the following email from Hugh McCaffrey in Ontario, Canada. January 2003

My father was one of the Grenadier Guardsmen who carried King Edward VII's coffin at his funeral. Are there any photographs available good enough to recognize people? All I know is that he was the second Guardsman from the front, but I do not know which side of the coffin. Any leads or links would be welcome.
  There must be many stories connected with a funeral of this magnitude. This is one.

All troops were up at the crack of dawn as usual. All but one pall bearer had breakfast, he was busy getting his ceremonial uniform up to inspection standard. Dressed for the big day, he tried to get some food after the mess hall had closed from the cookhouse. A cook who was holding a pan of fat, threw it at him covering a big portion of his uniform. My father told my sister that there was a big panic to get a uniform replacement. So one pall bearer at that funeral was not a happy bunny!

We have received the following email from Jim Dolan in Ireland. May 2003.

My great uncle was the standard bearer at this funeral. He was an officer in
the Guards. His name I am pretty sure was Herbert Lyons from Croom in
  Jim Dolan


We are grateful to Richard Weeks for sending the above picture of Edward VII's funeral cortège in which his grandfather, Sergeant William Weeks, appears centre left, marked by a cross by his feet. Richard has also supplied the following photographs of Edward VII when Prince of Wales and his Queen Consort, Alexandra.

King Edward VII as Prince of Wales

Queen Alexandra

November 2006. Martin Reed writes:
Troop Serjeant Major John Roughan Yeoman of the Guard 9th Lancers was on duty at Queen Victoria's Lying-in-State and also Edward VII's Lying-in-State and George V's Coronation. Picture and more information here The Funeral Processions of Queen Victoria

See also

Royal Funerals at Windsor - Index Proclamation of Queen Elizabeth II The Royal Windsor Home Page State Visits in Windsor

Royal Windsor History Index

Accession of George V

Any information or additional material about Windsor is always welcomed and acknowledged.
Copies of photographs or texts can be emailed to the Editor, The Royal Windsor Web Site

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