|Founded in 1065 by Edward the Confessor,
Westminster Abbey is neither a cathedral nor a parish church. It is controlled
by the royal crown outside of the jurisdiction of the Church of England.
One of the most visited churches in the Christian world, Westminster Abbey
has been the site of every Royal Coronation since 1066 (except those of
Edward V and Edward VIII) and is the final resting place of many sovereigns,
politicians, poets and artists. Burial in the abbey is one of the rarest
and greatest honours in Britain. Over 3000 people are buried beneath the
flagstones and hundreds of commemorative plaques, statues and monuments
line the walls and floors. The funeral of the late Diana, Princess of Wales
took place here in September 1997, although her burial took place at Althorp,
Northamptonshire (see Day trips).
The nave is over a hundred feet high, the tallest of any church in the country. Within the nave lies The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and tombs of David Livingstone, Charles Darwin and Neville Chamberlain, amongst others. Behind the High Altar, in the Chapel of Edward the Confessor, the most sacred part of the abbey, rests the Coronation Chair. Coronations and royal weddings have been performed here for centuries. Poets Corner commemorates many greats of the "dead poets society" including T.S Eliot, Shakespeare, Dickens, Kipling and Hardy.