Westminster Abbey

In the 1040s King Edward (later St. Edward the Confessor), last of the Anglo-Saxon kings, established his royal palace by the banks of the river Thames on land known as Thorney Island. Close by was a small Benedictine monastery founded under the patronage of King Edgar and St Dunstan around 960 AD. This monastery Edward chose to re-endow and greatly enlarge, building a large stone church in honour of St Peter the Apostle. This church became known as the “west minster” to distinguish it from St Paul’s Cathedral (the east minster) in the City of London. King Edward died shortly after the church was consecrated, and his remains were entombed in front of the high alter.

Since the coronations in 1066 of William the Conqueror, all English and British monarchs, except Lady Jane Grey, Edward V and Edward VIII, who did not have coronations and Henry III because Prince Louis of France had taken control of London, have been crowned in the Abbey.


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