In life, such was their closeness that Queen Elizabeth II, her parents and sister described themselves as “we four”.
As she grew up, Prince Philip was added to the happy family fold, between them creating formative memories that would guide the Queen’s entire life.
The first image of the late Queen’s final resting place, released by Buckingham Palace today, shows her returned to the heart of her family, surrounded by flowers and the names of the people she loved best.
The photograph shows the new ledger stone installed in the King George VI Memorial Chapel in St George’s Chapel where the monarch was buried on Monday.
It carries the names of “George VI 1895-1952”, “Elizabeth 1900-2002”, “Elizabeth II 1926 – 2022” and “Philip 1921-2021”.
The ashes of Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, are the only others in the chapel, her name marked on a separate stone nearby.
The black stone slab, which is new, has been set into the floor after replacing the old stone that had the names George VI and Elizabeth inscribed in gold lettering.
Queen Elizabeth II is surrounded by flowers and family
1) Princess Margaret
The ledger stone of the late Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, stands separately against the wall in the right-hand corner of the family chapel.
The younger sister to Queen Elizabeth II, after her death in February 2002 she became the first member of the Royal family to be cremated since Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll in 1939.
This was to make sure that her remains could be accommodated within the small internment chamber beneath the memorial chapel.
Princess Margaret’s ashes were initially placed in the royal vault of St George’s Chapel, but transferred to her parent’s tomb, under the King George VI Memorial Chapel, two months later in April 2002 when Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was interred there following her death the previous month.
2) Queen Elizabeth II’s parents
The chapel was commissioned by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1962 as a final burial place for her father, King George VI, whose unexpected death in 1952 meant that no specific resting place had been designed for him.
Designed by George Pace, the chapel was completed in 1969 and sits between the external buttresses of the north wall of the quire of St George’s, within the walls of the larger royal chapel.
The body of King George VI was taken from the royal vault to a tomb beneath the newly built chapel in his memory that year. It would lie there alone for 33 years.
Queen Elizabeth II, who personally met the £25,000 cost of the project, was said to prefer a simple flat ledger stone, inlaid into the floor, than a marble chest tomb with large effigies, which had been commissioned for some previous monarchs.
3) Stone and flowers
The new ledger stone dons the names and dates of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the late Duke of Edinburgh.
These are separated from those of the late Queen’s parents by the star of the garter, representing the Order of the Garter, whose spiritual home is St George’s Chapel.
The ledger stone is surrounded by floral tributes from members of the Royal family.
Whilst royal officials have given further details about the wreaths, it is likely they will be laced with symbolism, as were the floral adornments to the late Queen’s coffin, which included flowers cut from the gardens of Buckingham Palace Clarence House and Highgrove House.
The stone is made of hand-carved Belgian black marble with brass letter inlays, to match the previous ledger stone.
The size of the chapel meant it was not possible for all of her relatives to be present during the burial.
The palace will not confirm details of the private ceremony, but it is thought to have been attended by her four children.
The late Queen’s burial site will be open to the public from next week as Windsor Castle resumes its tours.
People can pay their respects at St George’s Chapel from September 29, just over a week after the late monarch’s funeral.
The Queen was laid to rest together with the Duke of Edinburgh on Monday evening in a private service attended by the King and a small number of Royal family.
The “deeply personal” event followed the full state funeral at Westminster Abbey and committal service in Windsor.
When Prince Philip died 17 months ago, his coffin was interred in the Royal Vault of St George’s, ready to be moved to the memorial chapel when the Queen died.
Speaking in 1997, on her Golden Wedding anniversary, the late Queen reflected: “My husband has quite simply been my strength and stay all these years, and I owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim.”
During her husband’s funeral, the Queen sat alone and kept a two-metre distance during the scaled-back service, the images of which served as a poignant reminder for all who had lost loved ones during the pandemic.
Although the congregation at the service was banned from singing, four choristers performed pieces specially selected by the Duke that spoke to his Christian faith and Navy connections.
The Duke’s lifetime of military service – both as a sailor and in his ceremonial connections to all branches of the Armed Forces – played a central role in proceedings throughout.
The chapel will reopen to visitors next week on all days the castle is open to the public, excluding Sundays when it is only open for worshippers.
Entry to the castle is £28.50 for adults on Saturdays and £26.50 on other days.
The Royal family will today continue its period of mourning for the Queen, to be observed until seven days after the funeral.