Every English sovereign has been crowned in Westminster Abbey since William the Conqueror in 1066, except for Edward V, who was murdered, and Edward VIII, who abdicated. Many married here and 17 are buried here.
At the heart of the Abbey is the Sanctuary, where the stage is set for royal coronations, weddings, and funerals. On April 29, 2011, Prince William married Catherine Middleton here.
The Abbey was originally a monastery for Benedictine monks, which was dissolved by Henry VIII when he separated the Catholic Church in England from Rome. It’s considered to be a prime example of Early English Gothic style, and admirers of medieval ecclesiastic art will love the place. The original church was built in the 11th century by King Edward the Confessor, who is buried in the sanctuary behind the main alter. In front of the ornate main alter is the Cosmati pavement, intricate marble inlay designed in 1268. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries, a new museum and gallery space located in the arched gallery above the nave, exhibits the death masks of generations of royalty wax effigies and the Mary Chair, used for the coronation of Mary II.
Visit: 20 Deans Yard, Westminster SW1P 3PA; 020-7222 5152; westminster-abbey.org