On 8 September, the nation received the sad announcement that Queen Elizabeth II had passed away peacefully at her Scottish Highland residence, Balmoral. She was the longest reigning monarch in British history.
Having sat on the throne for 70 years, the 96-year-old monarch’s passing triggers a period of national mourning in the United Kingdom. Following on from centuries of tradition, this period of mourning involves a carefully choreographed schedule of events which has been planned by Buckingham Palace for decades.
As tributes continue to pour in, it’s clear that the scale of the nation’s grief is likely to be unprecedented – so what exactly can we expect from the period of mourning?
What happens after the Queen dies?
Traditionally, the Queen's death would have triggered a 12-day mourning period, but on the 9 September 2022, Buckingham Palace released a statement detailing that King Charles III has requested an extension, with the mourning period lasting until 7 days after Queen Elizabeth's funeral on 19 September 2022.
'Following the death of Her Majesty The Queen, it is His Majesty's wish that a period of Royal Mourning be observed from now until seven days after The Queen's Funeral,' the statement – which was shared to social media – read.
'Royal Mourning will will be observed by Members of the Royal Family, Royal Household staff and Representative of the Royal Household on official duties, together with troops committed to ceremonial duties,' the statement added.
Buckingham Palace's statement also pointed out that during the national mourning period, flags at royal residences will be flown at half-mast and a royal gun salute will take place in London today at 1pm. Royal residences – including Balmoral Castle and the Royal Mews – will remain closed throughout the mourning period.
Since the Queen passed away in Scotland rather than London, her death triggered a chain of events known as ‘Operation Unicorn’. This begins with Scottish Parliament being suspended to prepare for her state funeral, followed by Her Majesty’s body being transported from Balmoral to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The new King and Queen stayed at Balmoral after the announcement, before travelling down to London the following day.
The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.
The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/VfxpXro22W
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 8, 2022
From here, her coffin would be carried to St Giles’ Cathedral on the Royal Edinburgh Mile to allow people to lie in state, before making the final journey to London either by plane or Royal Train. There will also be a one-minute silence on the day the Queen dies, which will be observed nationwide.
Meanwhile, the news was announced via a tiered release, starting with the Prime Minister being informed by the Queen’s private secretary. After this, the news was the fed to the leaders of the 36 commonwealth countries, followed by other world leaders.
The Queen’s state funeral will be held on Monday 19th September, which has been declared a bank holiday. The new King will also deliver a televised broadcast to the nation on the day after the death of the sovereign.
What happens across the mourning period?
The Queen’s death is known as D-Day, with each subsequent day being named D+1, D+2 etc until the state funeral, which will take place at Westminster Abbey on D+10, ten days after her death. However, since the announcement of Her Majesty’s passing came at 6.31pm on Thursday 8th September, Friday 9th was considered D+0.
During this period, Union Jacks will be flown at half-mast across the country and books of condolences will be opened across the world for members of the public to sign. Gun salutes and bell ringing is also expected to be heard across the country.
The first official duty King Charles III performed was his first audience as monarch with Prime Minister Liz Truss. He also confirmed the arrangements planned by the government as part of Operation London Bridge – the codename given to the carefully choreographed schedule set to take place over the following days…
On D+1, the Accession Council met at St James Palace to officially crown the new King. However, Charles automatically became King upon the Queen’s death, with Camilla becoming Queen Consort – this meeting was simply a formal proclamation during MPs swore allegiance to the new monarch.
On D+2, similar proclamations are made by the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish administrations. On D+3, the new King receives a motion of condolence at Westminster Hall, before departing on a tour of the United Kingdom, where he will attend services in Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff before returning to London.
On D+7, the Queen’s coffin will arrive at the Palace of Westminster via a ceremonial route through central London, where it will lie in state for three days ahead of the funeral.
On D+10, the Queen’s state funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey at 11am, led by the current Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rev Justin Welby. The Queen’s coffin will be taken to the Abbey in a military procession, with the coffin borne on a gun carriage by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery. During the procession, Big Ben is set to toll. Like with previous state funerals, senior members of the royal family are expected to walk behind the coffin.
The service will see the abbey packed with 2000 people, including foreign royalty, heads of state, prime ministers, presidents and other key public figures invited to pay their respects to the late monarch. The service will also be televised for the general public, and a two-minute silence observed nationwide.
Afterwards, the Queen will be privately buried at King George VI Memorial Chapel, her final resting place.
Will the Queen's funeral be a bank holiday?
Yes, the King has officially approved the order that the day of the Queen’s funeral on 19 September is to be a bank holiday.
How does the mourning period affect day-to-day life?
The Queen’s passing is set to have a significant effect on the nation, from the sentiments of collective grief to the day-to-day practicalities which the mourning period will influence.
The BBC will suspend all regular coverage to screen the funeral on D+10, and all comedy programming scheduled during the mourning period will be suspended. Other channels are also likely to interrupt their coverage to mark the occasion. Meanwhile in theatres, shows will continue, but lights will be dimmed to mark the minutes silence and the national anthem will also be played prior to performances.
On the day of the funeral, which is to be declared a national day of mourning, all sporting fixtures will be cancelled. Many shops will shut or run reduced hours, and most banks will also close. The London Stock Exchange is also set to close for the day of the funeral. Finally, upcoming strike action planned by Royal Mail and RMT rail workers has been suspended as a mark of respect.
Will gyms close during the mourning period?
No, most gyms are expected to remain open, though some may close on the day of the funeral. This is up to each individual business.
Will parkrun be cancelled during the mourning period?
Some parkrun organisers have chosen to cancel specific routes out of respect to Queen Elizabeth. The routes affected are listed on the parkrun website.
Will football be cancelled during the mourning period?
On Friday 9, Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 September, all National League, FA Trophy and grassroots football fixtures were cancelled. These events will be rescheduled, and fixtures are planned to go ahead from Monday 12 September, although it is expected that events will also be cancelled on the day of the Queen’s funeral. The Premiere League also cancelled all games on Saturday and Monday. They said in a statement on Friday: 'At a meeting this morning, Premier League clubs paid tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
'To honour her extraordinary life and contribution to the nation, and as a mark of respect, this weekend's Premier League match round will be postponed, including Monday evening's game.'
The Government advised that sporting organisations were, however, under ‘no obligation’ to cancel fixtures.
Will other sport events be cancelled during the mourning period?
Sunday's Great North Run went ahead as planned. Organisers issued the following statement on the Great North Run website this afternoon:
'Sunday’s Great North Run will go ahead as planned. The event has traditionally been a celebration of the extraordinary achievements of ordinary people, this year it will be an opportunity for us to come together and express our condolences, while celebrating the life of our extraordinary Queen.
'Elements of the runner and spectator experience will be more subdued out of respect to the Royal Family. Whilst we want runners to enjoy the day, we will be encouraging everyone to be mindful of the very sad and very special circumstances in which the event will be taking place, and encourage them to communicate their respect in whichever way they feel appropriate.'
The BMW PGA Championships suspended play on Thursday and cancelled play on Friday, but play resumed on Saturday, according to a statement.
For cricket, Friday’s play between England and South Africa men at The Oval did not take place, nor did scheduled matches in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, but play resumed on Saturday.
The Scottish Rugby Union postponed all domestic competitive games this weekend as a mark of respect and the women’s summer Test international between Scotland and Spain on Sunday is also off. The Rugby League continued as normal.
Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix went ahead as scheduled with a minute’s silence planned before practice on Friday and another before the race.
The British Weightlifting Open due to take place between 10 and 11 September was also cancelled.
All horse racing has been suspended.
Will schools close during the mourning period?
The Department for Education has said schools and colleges in England should remain open as normal during the mourning period. In a message to principals and heads, the DfE said it would issue further guidance after details of the funeral are confirmed by the royal household.
The DfE said: ‘Schools and further education settings should remain open. While normal attendance is expected, headteachers continue to have the power to authorise leaves of absence for pupils in exceptional circumstances.’
It said schools may want to ‘consider conducting special activities, holding assemblies or adapting planned lessons’ to commemorate the Queen’s life during the mourning period.
Will trains be running during the mourning period?
The rail strikes on 15 and 17 September have been called off. Extra services may also be provided, and visitors to London will see tributes to the Queen at stations, commemoration pictures and also, potentially, travel ambassadors helping people as they go about their journeys.
Will shops close during the mourning period?
No, most shops are expected to remain open, though it is up to each individual business if they choose to close, and many will do so on the Queen’s funeral. Selfridges closed on Friday 9 September, but reopened on Saturday 10 September.
You Might Also Like