Beautiful England - photos of England and the UK

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey has a unique connection with the British Monarchy and the State. Its official title is the Collegiate Church of St. Peter, Westminster. This large gothic church is a living church where worship still takes place. Traditionally it has been the place of coronation for English Monarchs. King Harold was crowned at Westminster Abbey and then, after defeating him in 1066, William the Conqueror also had his coronation here. In total, there have been thirty-eight coronations held at Westminster Abbey.

For many years, Westminster Abbey was the main burial site for royalty, although now the Royal Family burial site is at Windsor.

Royal weddings have been a relatively recent introduction. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was married here and also her daughter, the current Queen Elizabeth II. The funeral of Princess Diana took place here in 1997.

The Queen Mother laid a bridal bouquet on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. All royal brides since have followed this act, which has almost become a tradition.

All attention will be focused on Westminster Abbey on Friday 29th April 2011, when Prince William marries Kate Middleton. Prince William is second in line to the British throne, after Prince Charles. Westminster Abbey was chosen by the bride and groom for their wedding for its "staggering beauty" and its 1,000 years of history.