The funeral was only eleven days after her death
Why dead queen’s body stays fresh for so long – embalmer reveals how he stops decay
The Queen is currently laid to rest until her funeral in 2022. on September 19 so that family members and the British can say goodbye to their Queen.
German Press Agency
by Madeline Jaeger
Death of the Queen on September 8. moved many people around the world. In England, citizens can currently say goodbye to their deposed queen. The funeral will be held on September 19. In other countries, wakes are traditionally part of the farewell culture. This is less common in Germany, but there are funeral homes that specialize in it. So-called thanatologists, thanat practitioners or embalmers. Embalmer Philipp Berger (30) tells RTL in an interview how this special procedure works and why it is so important.
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Queen’s Disposition: How is the body treated prior to burial?
Thousands of people bid farewell to the late Elizabeth II in Scotland on Monday. Her coffin was publicly placed there. Even on Wednesday (September 14, 2022), as the coffin was transported to London, people could still say goodbye to their late Queen. Her remains will not be taken to Windsor Castle for burial until next week. This should be the end and culmination of the ten-day mourning period.
But how is the corpse actually treated over time in such cases? What happens to the body when it travels and is exposed to higher temperatures?
Embalming the dead: A liquid containing formaldehyde is injected into the body
While we laypeople think of professional embalming as the special chilling behind it, in reality there is a complex embalming process involved. In Germany, this procedure can only be used by funeral workers who have completed special further training.
“During a special chemical process, liquid is injected into the body to stop the decomposition processes,” explains Aleksandar Helbach, spokesperson for the Burial Culture Consumer Initiative from Aeternitas eV. So-called certified thanat specialists, such as Philipp Berger of the German Association of Embalmers, undertake this part of the treatment of the deceased.
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Thanatologists: “We take care of the preservation of the dead”
“We take care of the preservation of the deceased. It’s about a temporary interruption of autolysis – that is, the decomposition of the body so that it can be later buried or said goodbye in an open coffin,” explains expert Philipp Berger (30) from Lüneburg.
But in embalming, trained professionals do not apply anything externally, even if the word appears for the first time.
Embalming: “Normal people may imagine the procedure to be similar to a dialysis procedure”
“During the procedure, the arteries and blood vessels are opened, through which we inject a liquid containing formaldehyde to exchange the blood. Lay people can think of this procedure as a dialysis procedure,” says Berger. The duration of embalming always varies. This can be done in two hours, but can take up to six hours depending on your body. Body condition plays an important role.
But in what cases are embalmers actually used in this country?
In most cases, embalming in Germany requires transportation of the deceased abroad. “If someone dies in Germany and has to be transported to their home country, embalming is required, for example. When a lot of time passes between death and the farewell or burial, embalming is necessary,” describes the expert.
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Embalming extension: “Mr. Lenin injected every 12 months”
Lenin’s body preserved in Moscow’s Lenin Mausoleum on Red Square (1993).
His professional group is also used for layout, although much less often in Germany than abroad….