Welcome everyone! Westminster Abbey
is in front of you. A thousand years
of history! It's where the kings and queens
are crowned in ancient ceremonies. Some
get married here. The Queen herself did back
in nineteen forty-seven to a handsome
naval officer who died last year.
Westminster Abbey was a monastery
once, or part of one, built by King Edward
the Confessor who is entombed here,
surrounded by the tombs of lesser kings
who lacked his piety. Because he built
an abbey, he was made a saint by popes
in Rome around eleven seventy,
which caused this old round-arch construction to
be pulled down partly and converted into
what you see today - tall, pointed arches,
lots of glass and flying buttresses to wow
the tourists and the pilgrims to his shrine -
the brand new Gothic style from northern France.
Let's enter and look round. Hats off, please, gents!
The first Discovery is this black slab
belonging to the Unknown Warrior.
You'll walk on many graves here, but not this
one which is kept surrounded by the bank
of poppies for remembrance. Who's beneath
is never to be known. The corpse was picked
at random from the battlefields of France
and Belgium, brought back home with solemn
pomp and laid to rest before the west doors of
the Abbey on Remembrance Day a hundred
years ago this year. The congregation
was composed of widows and the poet
Laurence Binyon put a gloss on death
They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old
age shall not weary them nor years condemn...
Let's carry on. We're at the crossing where
the coronation happens and has done
since William the First was crowned on Christmas
Day ten sixty-six. Likewise the Queen
in nineteen fifty-three. They built a wooden
platform then and put on top the throne
which is the same throne that King Edward used
eight hundred years ago. They keep it in
a chapel to the side. The tiny Queen
used only half the seat.
The ritual's religious and takes place
within the Mass, which in the English church
is called communion. The Queen's anointed,
oil was poured on her as in the Bible.
She was given orb and sceptre, and,
as 'your undoubted queen', presented to
the compass points, the transepts, nave and chancel
which were full of peers in coronets
who shouted 'God save Queen Elizabeth!'
when their turn came.