#336 theoldmortuary ponders

Todays Royal related blog is perhaps not for the squeamish. I will ease you all in gently. Where does the tradition of flowers come from at funerals? Bodies become odorous, quite quickly, after death unless steps are taken. Flowers and in particular their fragrance can help a bit, as does quick, deep burial or burning. Incense or any other strong smelling fragrance has nothing to do with spirituality and everything to do odour masking. It matters not what any religion dresses the rituals around death up as,the disposal of a body is pragmatic and good for public health.

William the 1st, William the Conqueror had a Royal funeral, planned, quite possibly by Monty Python Funerals.com

Held in Caen, France, things did not go to plan. Injured in battle, possibly a self inflicted injury of a big belly being ruptured by the pommel on the saddle of his horse. William was taken alive to Rouen but died of his injuries. His body was stored in a place that was ransacked and looted. Everything of value was stolen and his naked body left on the floor. There was an attempt at embalming, almost certainly too little, too late and he was transported to Caen for his funeral where a stone sarcophagus awaited him.

There was a kerfuffle immediately when someone claimed the Church and by association the burial site had been built on stolen land but worse was to come. The pre prepared stone sarcophagus was just a little too small. Not enough that the body would obviously not fit, but just tantalisingly too small. The sort of ‘too small’ where a practical person would step up and offer to try and squeeze the King in. This was not a good idea. William the Conquerors damaged and decaying bowels burst at the first application of pressure. All the flowers in the world or Incense for that matter were not going to hide that particular stench. Mediaeval life was not for the fragile…

Where will all this Royal research take us tomorrow.

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