In the 17 Months Since Prince Philip Died, His Body Hasn’t Been Refrigerated or Buried

Queen Elizabeth II’s death on Sept. 8 set in motion a 10-day mourning period that ended yesterday following her state funeral. Following the news of her death, it was reported by British media that her late husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, would be moved from the Royal Vault to be buried alongside her. Many people are under the impression that the Royal Vault is just a “fancy refrigerator” that the body is kept in until it can be buried. The truth is, the Royal Vault is not refrigerated. It’s merely a burial chamber where the body is held — temporarily in some cases, permanently in others. The Royal Family does go the extra mile to preserve the bodies of their loved ones in an effort to prevent decay and the buildup of odors over time. It's traditional for British Royals to be buried in lead-lined coffins because they are airtight and thus better at stopping moisture from seeping into the coffins, which in turns slows the rate of decomposition. This has been the case since the death of King Edward VII in 1910. Today, three British kings remain buried in the Royal Vault, the most recent being King William IV, who died in 1837.