Buried Abroad

The culture, language and individual identity of the indigenous ‘Briton’ has long since been lost to invading races and the passage of time. It should not be surprising therefore, that the forces that gave rise to that, provided us with Monarchs whose hearts and souls were still steeped in their own native lands. For instance, Richard i (The Lionheart), of his ten-year reign, spent only one in England and never learned to speak English!

Understandably then, some were intent on being buried in the land of their birth rather than their adopted country. At least one – James ii – had little choice other than to live and die in France after being dethroned and exiled by Parliament in 1688. But I have stopped short of visiting their tombs due to their being desecrated and their remains scattered during the religious and civil wars of the 17th/18th centuries.

With the exception of George i, who died in Germany and is buried in a vault at his family’s castle in Herrenhausen near Hanover (not open to the public), nothing is left of the remaining English Monarchs buried in France save a thigh bone of William The Conqueror in his tomb at Caen.

Nevertheless, they constitute a vital part of the story and are accordingly included. They are:

William i (The Conqueror)   1066-1087   buried   Caen                  – France                               Henry ii                                     1154-1189    buried   Fontevrault      – France                           Richard i (Coeur de Lion)     1189-1199    buried   Fontevrault      – France                           James ii                                     1685-1688   buried  Paris                   – France                         George i                                     1714-1727    buried   Herrenhausen  – Germany

Abbey      Abbey Nave

Above: St Stephen’s Abbey, Caen and a view of the Nave.

Below: the stone slab on the tomb of William the Conqueror which translated reads, ‘Here was buried the invincible William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, King of England, founder of this house who died in 1087’.

William the Conqueror

Below: the memorials to King James ii 1685-1688 who, after being deposed, died in exile in 1701. He is buried in St Germain-en-Laye, Paris.

King James II      King James

Below left: the tombs of Fontevrault Abbey of (at the back) King Henry ii, 1154-1189, with Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine on his right and, foreground, King Richard i (Coeur de Lion) 1189-1199 with Queen Berengaria on his right.

Fontevrault Abbey      Henry Eleanor

Above right: a closer view of King Henry’s and Queen Eleanor’s tombs.

This entry was posted in House of Stuart, Kings & Queens of England and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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