Monuments: The Royal Peculiar

The 18th century English essayist Joseph Addison called it a "great magazine of mortality." For the British people, London's Westminster Abbey is also a monument of national immortality. Next week its bells will ring out to celebrate its 900th birthday. Built by Edward the Confessor on a filled-in island of thorn in the Thames River, it has over the centuries become a pantheon, the sacred environs where an enlightened empire crowns its kings and queens, and where common folk can pray. With its crowded multitude of funeral statuary, the Abbey is a...

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