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Westminster Abbey is a unique pageant of British history. The tombs of kings and queens, the shrine of St. Edward the Confessor, and countless memorials to the famous and the great. It’s been the setting for numerous royal occasions, including sixteen royal weddings.
Today it’s still a church dedicated to regular worship. It’s neither a cathedral or a parish church, Westminster Abbey is considered a “Royal Peculiar”.
An addition to the Abbey was the glorious Lady chapel which was built by King Henry VII, and now bears his name. The chapel was consecrated on 19 February 1516. The Battle of Britain memorial window by Hugh Easton can be seen at the east end in the Royal Air Force chapel. A new stained glass window above this, by Alan Younger, and two flanking windows with a design in blue by Hughie O’Donoghue, give colour to this chapel.
Centuries later a further addition was made to the Abbey when the western towers were completed, to a design by Nicholas Hawksmoor. The great west window and the rose window in the north transept date from the early 18th century but the remainder of the glass dates from the 19th century onwards.
History did not cease with the dissolution of the medieval monastery on 16 January 1540. That year, Henry VIII erected Westminster into a cathedral church with a bishop named Thomas Thirlby. The “bishopric” was surrendered on 29 March 1550 and the “diocese” was reunited with London, Westminster, being made by Act of Parliament, a cathedral church in London. Mary I restored the Benedictine monastery under Abbot John Feckenham.
To this day, worshipness is offered daily by the “Glory of God”. Annual services are a thanksgiving for victory in the Battle of Britain in 1940 and a service for Judges at the start of the legal year as well as service to mark Commonwealth Day.

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