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The Art of Monarchy

A collaboration with BBC Radio 4 to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

United States of America

Fragment of George Washington's coffin 1799

RCIN 84451

This shard of wood was presented to Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) in 1860 on his visit to Mount Vernon, home of George Washington. The Prince was the first member of the royal family to visit the United States of America. With President Buchanan he went to Mount Vernon to pay his respects at the Washington Mausoleum. Although George Washington had specified before his death in 1799 that he wanted a new brick tomb to be built, this was not undertaken until 1830, at which date the President’s original coffin was broken up and he was reinterred in a new coffin. In a symbolic gesture, the Prince of Wales, as representative of Queen Victoria, was presented with a shard of the original coffin by Washington’s great, great nephew, John A. Washington Jr.