Queen Victoria's empty bier

Queen Victoria's empty bier

A silver print showing floral tributes arranged around the empty bier in the Albert Memorial Chapel inside St George’s, Windsor Castle. A pencilled inscription recto in the lower margin reads: ‘Funeral of Queen Victoria, The Bier in Albert Chapel, Windsor, after removal of the coffin / Feb. 4th 1901.’

The Queen’s coffin, surmounted by her crown, had previous lain in state in the chapel, guarded by Grenadier Guards, from 2 February to 4 February, before it was taken to Frogmore Mausoleum to rest beside her husband Prince Albert.

Various pencilled inscriptions in a period hand identify whom some of the tributes were from. The one with the white ribbon in foreground is from the ‘People of Queensland.’ The one with the crescent moon and star in the background is from ‘the Khedive’ of Egypt, while the ‘Cross upon [the[ Bier [the] American Ambassador.’ IN addition, the label on the large wreath in the foreground can easily be read with a magnifying glass: it is ‘A token of love, loyalty and fidelity from the Black Watch garrison and loyal inhabitants of Ladybrand, Orange Boer Colony, South Africa.’

According to a report in The Times (2 February 1901): ‘After inspecting the wreaths in the Dean’s cloister, I took advantage of the opportunity kindly afforded me of entering the Albert Memorial Chapel, where the coffin will be placed after the ceremony in St George’s Chapel to await removal to Frogmore on Monday. Her again there was a wealth of floral emblems. Those which predominated were the offerings of the Army. There is something peculiarly fitting in the presence of these wreaths surrounding the very spot where the coffin is to rest before the last rites are performed over it in the Mausoleum at Frogmore. With touching simplicity, the cards on the wreaths of the regiments of the Army which the Queen loved so well bear testimony to the homage of her soldiers and to the sorrow which her death has occasioned.’

Photographer unidentified.


Code: 126639
© Paul Frecker 2023