Royal burials not always in high style
September 5, 1997
Web posted at: 9:58 p.m. EDT (0158 GMT)
From Correspondent Martin Savidge
LONDON (CNN) -- Mostly, what is remembered about Britain's royal family is the marriages, the divorces and the affairs of the heart. But what of the deaths?
It might be a surprise that many royal deaths haven't culminate in big production funerals.
Charles I, for instance, was executed for treason, so neither he nor the bloody shirt he left behind were granted a state funeral.
Also left out in the cold was Edward II, who was murdered with a red-hot iron on the orders of his wife's lover.
Edward V simply disappeared, at the ripe old age of 13, locked away in the Tower of London by a jealous uncle. Bones believed to be his were discovered centuries later.
Even in recent years, royal funerals were largely quiet, non-public events.
In 1972, Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne years earlier to marry an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson, was buried in a private affair. His widow's funeral in 1986 was similarly low key.
In fact, the last royal to be buried in high style was King George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth II, who died in 1952.
Buckingham Palace has said the funeral of Princess Diana will be unique, a sentiment to which royal historian David Starkey agrees.
But Starkey says one funeral for a previous royal spouse shares some similarities with that of Diana.
Queen Caroline was the popular wife of George IV, but the powers-that-be -- including her not-so-loving husband -- resisted giving her a public funeral. So the public simply seized the moment -- and the coffin -- and carried it shoulder high through the streets.