Injections, embalming… methods used up to the burial of Elizabeth II

Elizabeth II will be buried at Windsor Castle next Monday, eleven days after her death in Balmoral, Scotland. The unusually long delay is not without raising some questions.

Elizabeth II died on Thursday, September 8, in Balmoral, Scotland, and will be buried the following Monday, September 19, in the vault of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, a suburb of London. Meanwhile, his remains were transported over 800 kilometers and, after all, eleven days had passed.

A different situation raises questions, but the question is a very delicate one: how to ensure a good state of the body’s defenses for such a long time? René Degusnay, president of the French Institute of Embalming, responded to BFMTV.com.

An exceptional delay

To begin with, the death of the deceased and his burial – or here in the cemetery – such a delay period is unusual, as confirmed by the expert relying on the French example: “There are legal deadlines: six working days between death and burial.

To begin with, the British authorities faced no such difficulties in the case of their King’s funeral. As for the procedures for preserving the queen’s body after her death, they don’t say much. Thanks to the British press, we never knew the royal coffin was covered in lead. The first defense is not to expose the body too much to the air.

René Deguisne, a skeptic on the matter, notes: “We are talking about lead, but above all we must talk about an airtight coffin. In any case, it is a metal coffin that protects the body from wind and moisture.”.

Preservative fluids and drainage

Beyond this important precaution, the role of funeral directors is crucial here. “We will proceed to the embalming care, and first we will inject formalin-based preservation fluids through an arterial injection. These fluids will fix the tissues”, poses the head of the French Institute of Embalming, who says that the operation is more or less complete. In this last option of waiting five or ten days, the professional should use “highly concentrated” products.

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So surgery involves injecting this fluid into the blood vessels, particularly the arteries, to slow down the effects of the degeneration.

The specialist can then begin the second phase, which is drainage. “We’re going to remove part of the body’s physiological fluids”, continues René Degusnay. It justifies this final intervention by recalling that “our body is almost 70% water”. A fact that connects the queen and the common people.

With these operations, according to our expert, the situation is more similar in five or six days than in more than eleven. Afterwards, the Queen will be laid to rest at the George VI Memorial, which is little known to the general public, located in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

She will be with her parents, her sister and her late husband Philip, whose remains will have to be moved to join them as she currently rests in the royal vault under the church.

Robin Werner BFMTV journalist

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