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Pallbearers faced much tougher job carrying Queen's coffin due to special material

Dominic Smithers

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Pallbearers faced much tougher job carrying Queen's coffin due to special material

Featured Image Credit: Sky News

The Queen's coffin has been placed in Westminster Hall as she lies-in-state until her funeral, but carrying the coffin has been an incredible challenge for the pallbearers carrying it due to a special material.

Watch some of the procession here:

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Her Majesty was taken from Buckingham Palace, following her journey from Scotland, along the Mall as King Charles III, Prince William and Harry followed behind.

The late monarch was led all the way by a group of pallbearers, who lifted her from the carriage and placed her into Westminster Hall.

But due to the weight of the casket, it required eight pallbearers, instead of the usual six, to carry.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Queen Elizabeth's coffin would be lead lined and therefore much heavier than it otherwise would have been.

According to The Telegraph, this is due to the fact that she is to be interred in the King George VI Memorial Vault, as opposed to being given a traditional burial. 

Soldiers carried the Queen's coffin into Westminster Hall. Credit: PA
Soldiers carried the Queen's coffin into Westminster Hall. Credit: PA

As well as the reinforced casket, it is also adorned with brass fittings and other attachments, which add to its weight, making it incredibly difficult to carry.

It's thought that all together it could weigh anywhere between 250kg and 317kg.

To put this into perspective, this is about 10 times the weight of the average bergen (backpack) carried by soldiers in the British military.

Her Majesty's coffin was made by specialist firm Henry Smith, which was established in 1869 and closed in 2005 – during which time it also made the coffin for the Duke of Edinburgh, along with those for celebrities such as Diana Dors, Freddie Mercury and Jimi Hendrix. 

After being carefully crafted, the casket was maintained by funeral director JH Kenyon Ltd, which also took care of funerals for King George VI and Winston Churchill, until the 1990s, before family business Leverton and Sons took over in 1991. 

Director Andrew Leverton told The Times in 2018: "It is made from English oak, which is very difficult to get hold of. 

"Oak coffins are now made from American oak. I don’t think we could use English oak for a coffin now. It would be too expensive."

Leverton, whose firm also handled the funerals of the Queen Mother, Princess Diana, Princess Margaret, Margaret Thatcher, George Orwell and others, explained that state funerals see the added involvement of the Earl Marshal, with coffin bearers provided by the Armed Forces. 

King Charles III, his sons, and his siblings followed the casket into the hall. Credit: PA
King Charles III, his sons, and his siblings followed the casket into the hall. Credit: PA

He added: “We have to attend meetings and help with practices. There are practice coffins which are weighted appropriately. We are a relatively small cog in a very big machine. 

"For a normal funeral we have very close contact with the family. We take instructions from the Royal Household, not, obviously, directly from the Royal family."

The Queen will lie-in-state at Westminster Hall until Monday (19 September) morning.

Topics: The Queen, King Charles III, Prince William, Prince Harry, UK News, Royal Family

Dominic Smithers
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