The prospect of London and Westminster taken from Lambeth
Westminster Abbey is a gothic abbey church just to the west of the Palace of Westminster, London. It is a traditional place of coronation and burial site for English and, later, British monarchs. A first church was founded at the site in the 7th century, at the time of Mellitus, a Bishop of London. Construction of the present church began in 1245, on the orders of King Henry III. Since 1560, the building is no longer an abbey nor a cathedral, but a Church's of England "Royal Peculiar"—a church responsible directly to the sovereign. Since the coronations in 1066 of both King Harold and William the Conqueror, every English and British monarch, with the exceptions of Edward V and Edward VIII, have been crowned in Westminster Abbey. There have been at least 16 royal weddings at the abbey since 1100.