New additions and old traditions blend in this royal peculiar
Neither a cathedral nor a true abbey, Westminster is in fact a ‘royal peculiar’ – a church under the direct jurisdiction of the British sovereign. It is also a royal anointer, having played host to every coronation of a British or English monarch since William the Conqueror in 1066, as well as several royal weddings, including Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011. The building itself has undergone many changes in that time, with the chapel rebuilt in the early 16th century and the distinctive western towers only added in the mid-18th century.
It continues to develop today. Last summer, the previously-closed triforium was converted into the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries to house historic artefacts, while world-renowned Yorkshire artist David Hockney used his iPad to design a new stained glass window for the north transept.