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Famous Headstone Inscriptions

Image of headstone with "In loving memory" inscription

Headstone inscriptions are, for many people, one of the most intimidating aspects of choosing a memorial. An inscription will often include the name of the departed, the date of their birth and death, and sometimes some decorative engraving or artwork. Alongside these features there may also be a prayer, a quote from the deceased or a memory that was shared with loved ones. Below, Cope Memorials has taken a look at some of the more famous headstone inscriptions from around the world:

Winston Churchill

Charismatic British Prime Minister Winston Churchill passed away from a stroke on the 24th January 1965 and was buried in St Martin’s Church in the village of Bladon, where many of the Churchill family have also been laid to rest, including his parents and his wife. His headstone has had to be replaced and restored several times due to so many people coming to visit the grave, causing it to erode away. His epitaph reflects his humour and quick wit: ‘I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.’

William Shakespeare

One of the most prolific playwrights in history and known all over the world, William Shakespeare passed away on his birthday on the 23rd April 1616 and was laid to rest at the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-Upon-Avon. During the 17th Century, people would often exhume the deceased in order to carry out medical research, which is why Shakespeare’s choice of headstone inscriptions is more of a poetic plea: ‘Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbear, To dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, and cursed be he that moves my bones.’

Princess Diana

Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales was renowned for her philanthropy and charity work, particularly in areas such as animal welfare, landmines, and serious illnesses like leprosy and AIDS. The shock departure of the beloved English princess provoked much heartbreak and mourning across the globe, her funeral famously televised before her burial at Althorp House in Northampton. Her tomb is placed away from public access on a small island in the middle of a lake, shared with four swans and lined with 36 birch trees. Instead of lengthy headstone inscriptions, a small plaque dedicates the short but heartfelt words: ‘The People’s Princess’, a title that many people would agree truly represents the beloved royal.

Frank Sinatra

Claimed by a heart attack on the 14th May 1998, famous crooner Frank Sinatra was placed to rest at Desert Memorial Park in Palm Springs, California, far away from his original New Jersey home. The musical legend is supposed to have been buried with a bottle of Jack Daniels as well as a pack of camel cigarettes, items that were evidently a popular indulgence of the singer during his 82 years of life. Sinatra boasts perhaps one of the more recognisable headstone inscriptions on his grave: ‘The Best is Yet to Come’, a truly optimistic declaration that comes from his popular 1964 song of the same name. 

If you are struggling to think of the right words to write on the memorial your loved one, why not head on over to our headstone inscriptions ideas page? Cope Memorials is an expert team of stonemasons, offering an exceptional service to those in need of beautifully crafted headstones and memorials. To speak with our caring and considerate team, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01773 602 187 or complete our quick and simple online form.

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