The Daily Telegraph

Coffin made 30 years ago by firm that also crafted Philip’s


QUEEN Elizabeth’s coffin was made more than 30 years ago by the same firm that made the lead-lined casket in which Prince Philip lies interred.

Royal coffins are traditiona­lly made from well-seasoned oak from the Sandringha­m estate but precise details about the manufactur­e of the late Queen’s coffin are thought to have been lost in the decades since it was ordered.

The lead-lined casket, effectivel­y a coffin within a coffin, was made by the specialist firm Henry Smith, which closed in 2005 and which also made Prince Philip’s coffin, as well as those of celebritie­s including Diana Dors, Freddie Mercury and Jimi Hendrix.

The brass handles and other fitments, which include clasps to hold the Imperial State Crown, orb and sceptre in place when they are placed on the coffin for the lying in state, are thought to have been made by the now closed Birmingham foundry Newman Brothers.

Until the 1990s, the casket was maintained by London-based funeral director JH Kenyon Ltd, which handled the funerals of King George VI in 1952 and Winston Churchill in 1965.

When another London firm, Leverton & Sons, took over responsibi­lity for royal funerals in 1991, the Queen’s coffin was passed on to that company.

Andrew Leverton, who runs the family business, 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.”

The coffin has to be lined with lead because the Queen will be interred in the King George VI Memorial Vault, rather than given a traditiona­l burial.

It is so heavy that it requires eight pall bearers rather than the usual six.

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