Here's Why Princess Diana Was Buried In A Coffin Lined With Lead

From the moment she married Prince Charles in 1981, Princess Diana became "the people's princess" and was beloved all over the world for her grace, style, and philanthropic efforts, per CNN. Her popularity with the people could be seen not only when she was alive, but after news of her tragic death broke on Aug. 31, 1997, when mourners congregated at Kensington and Buckingham Palace to pay tribute with flowers and cards (via The Guardian). Diana died after sustaining injuries in a car crash in Paris alongside her partner, Dodi Fayed, and their driver, Henri Paul, according to CNN.

Diana's funeral, like her wedding, was televised around the world. Billions of people watched as Diana was laid to rest in a funeral procession that lasted for more than three hours, per PopSugar. They also watched the heartbreaking scene of young Prince William and Prince Harry walking behind their mother's coffin in the procession with their dad, Prince Charles, and grandfather Prince Philip.

Another heart-wrenching moment that viewers remember is the sight of Diana's coffin adorned with flowers and the royal standard flag draped over it. Per Express UK, eight Welsh guards carried Diana's coffin, but they reportedly had trouble doing it because of how heavy it was — and it had to do with how it was lined. Keep scrolling to find out the reason Diana's coffin was so heavy.

It's customary for British royals to be buried in lead-lined coffins

Per Metro, Princess Diana's coffin weighed "a quarter-tonne" because it was lined with lead. The outlet notes that it is tradition for British royals to be buried in lead-lined coffins because of its preservation abilities. Lead coffins "can be sealed airtight and slow the decomposition of the body," while keeping "out moisture" and preserving "the body for longer."

Although Diana was no longer married to Prince Charles at the time of her death — she only had the title of Lady Diana Spencer — she was buried as a British royal because of how loved she was by the public. This was confirmed by a Buckingham Palace spokesperson who told BBC that the funeral contained particular elements that reflected "the affection with which the princess was held," on Sept. 6, 1997.

At the request of Diana's brother Charles Spencer, the princess was laid to rest on an island in the center of the Oval lake within the Althorp Estate, where she grew up, per Royal UK.

Prince Philp's coffin will also be lined with lead

As mentioned above, it's customary for royals to be buried in lead-lined coffins. So, of course, Princess Diana is not the only one to be buried in such a way. 

As reported by the Daily Mail, the Duke of Edinburgh will be laid to rest in a "traditional English oak coffin" that was commissioned many years ago, along with the Queen's. It's also reported that his coffin, just like Diana's, will be lined in lead as well, in an effort to combat moisture and prevent the body from decomposing as quickly. The story goes that Prince Philip will be temporarily laid to rest in the Royal vault until the time of the Queen's passing, when they will both be transported to Frogmore Gardens together.

During an interview with The Times, the funeral director to the Royal family, Andrew Leverton, explained that Philip's coffin wasn't simply something that one could order in a moment's notice. "It is not something you can just make in a day, or a few hours. It was felt that it was important to have it available," he said (via the Daily Mail) before adding that the English oak wood alone is now "very difficult to get hold of."

The public has ordered to stay away from Windsor

While Princess Diana and Prince Philip's coffins might be similar, the way in which Philip will be sent off will have one very big difference – no large crowds. 

As reported by Daily Mail, the public has been forewarned to stay away from Windsor during the Duke's funeral due to concerns of COVID-19. John Story, the mayor of Windsor, told the PA news agency that it was "a great honour"  for the Duke to be transported to the district, but cautioned "It is a really serious message that everyone stays away," before adding that "there will be nothing to see." He also explained that Windsor already has a plan set in place for anyone planning to defy the orders. "The officers on the day will take whatever operational decisions which are required."

The mayor did, however, acknowledge the public's interest in offering their support and condolences while also reminding everyone about the importance of the public's health. "It is a very difficult time for people and people have very strong feelings, but we have to ask everyone to put theirs and the health and safety of others at the top of their list of priorities and not come into Windsor," he maintained. "The whole of the funeral, including the ceremonial procession, is taking place inside the castle walls."