What will happen now the Queen has died?

·5-min read
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images

The late Queen Elizabeth II was one of the world's longest-reigning monarchs, but what will happen following her passing? The announcement was made of Queen Elizabeth II's death after 6:30pm, on Thursday 8th September 2022. At the moment the Queen passed, Prince Charles became King almost immediately and the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla, became Queen Consort.

From state funeral plans to the official 17 days of mourning, here's everything you need to know about what will happen when the Queen dies.

1. Prince Charles has immediately become king

Prince Charles became King upon the death of his mother. He will be known as King Charles III. Upon the ascension to the throne of Charles, the Queen said in a statement that "it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort."

The current line of succession is Prince Charles, followed by Prince William and Prince George. Prince William has seen his official title change following the death of the Queen and ascension of his father King Charles III. He inherited his father's title, the Duke of Cornwall, and William and Kate are now titled Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge.

British Heritage say: "Charles will be named King one day after the Queen's death and after his siblings have ceremoniously kissed his hand. Proclamations will be made and while the Queen lies in state, Charles will visit Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales. His first words as monarch will take place at St James's Palace."

According to the BBC, it is expected that Charles will be officially proclaimed King on Saturday 10th September 2022. This will happen at St James's Palace in London, in front of a ceremonial body known as the Accession Council. He will also have an official coronation at Westminster Abbey, although this may not be for a while.

2. 'Operation London Bridge' began

Operation London Bridge, also known as London Bridge is Down, is the way in which the death of the Queen was communicated to the Prime Minister, Liz Truss, by the Queen's Private Secretary.

After the Prime Minister was informed, the news of her death went out to the 15 governments where the Queen was still head of state, including Jamaica, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Canada, and the Bahamas. Officials in the 38 other nations in the Commonwealth were alerted to the news.

Operation London Bridge also includes a government social media blackout (parliamentary business will be suspended for 10 days), and religious bell ringing. The Queen will be buried 10 days after her death, right after King Charles III returns from his tour of the UK.

3. The country has entered 17 days of national mourning

King Charles has announced that the UK will enter 17 days of mourning – not the expected 10 — as the official details of the palace condolences are confirmed. Beginning on Friday 9th September 2022, the period of Royal Mourning will be observed until seven days after the Queen's funeral.

During the period of mourning, the government website will feature a black banner, while government departmental social media pages will also show a black banner and change their profile pictures to their departmental crest.

Union flags will be lowered and flown at half-mast on all royal residences, government buildings and military establishments. As well as this, books of condolences have opened at British embassies across the world.

King Charles III and wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, will return to London, having spent Thursday night with immediate family at Balmoral, where the Queen died.

4. The days before the funeral

Because the Queen died at Balmoral Castle, her body will be moved to Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh and then carried up the Royal Mile to St. Giles Cathedral for a funeral service. Her body will then be taken to London by the Royal Train for the state funeral at Westminster Abbey. The Queen will lie in state for three days, giving members of the public the opportunity to see her coffin.

Once the Queen's body returns to London, King Charles III will begin his UK tour, visiting the Scottish Parliament and St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, then Northern Ireland's Hillsborough Castle and a service at St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast. Rehearsals for the Queen's funeral will also begin to take place.

5. State funeral

There will be a state funeral to honour Her Majesty's extraordinary life 10 days after her passing. On the day of the funeral, Big Ben will chime at 9am. As well as this, the crown jewels will be cleaned in the morning. Before the coffin arrives at Westminster, the country will fall silent for two minutes at 11am.

The state funeral date has not yet been announced, but it is believed to take place 10 days after the Queen's death.

Do we get a day off for the Queen's funeral?

The Queen's state funeral will be declared a bank holiday unless it falls on a Saturday. While the UK will partake in a 10-day mourning period, only the day of the funeral will be considered a national holiday. The British public can also expect a bank holiday for the state funeral of any future monarchs.

What will happen to the British stamps and currency?

Everyday items, such as stamps and currency, will eventually bear the image or initials of the new king. However, this is likely to be phased in gradually, rather than changed suddenly. All the issued stamps depicting the Queen's head will still be allowed for usage on postal services.

The same applies to old coins and notes. These will slowly be removed from circulation when worn out, although they will remain legal tender until a certain date.

Photo credit: Mario Gutiérrez - Getty Images
Photo credit: Mario Gutiérrez - Getty Images

When will the national anthem change?

The national anthem will now change, with the new lyrics changing to reflect King Charles III. Instead of the words 'Queen', the lyrics will revert back to their original form and change to 'God save the King'.

According to the Royal Family website, 'God Save The King' was a patriotic song first publicly performed in London in 1745, which came to be known as the National Anthem at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

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