As the world mourns Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Palace officials are working around the clock to carry out a set of strict, detailed and deliberate events which they have been preparing for decades.
Indeed, the traditional protocols that follow any monarch’s passing is a huge undertaking, but for Queen Elizabeth, who reigned for seven decades, the stakes are as high as they get.
Suffice to say the entire country—and the world from afar—are waiting to see what happens next. Below, everything you need to know about the coming days.
Prince Charles becomes King
As soon as the Queen passed away, Prince Charles officially became King Charles III.
The morning after his mother’s death, members of the Accession Council, the body that includes senior government figures and members of the Privy Council, will proclaim Charles the new sovereign. This takes place at St James’ Palace.
Charles’ wife Camilla will also now be known as Queen Consort, and will be crowned next to Charles at his coronation ceremony.
While his coronation ceremony won’t occur for several months (potentially even up to a year—the event takes an immense amount of planning), the royal will now assume the position of his mother and undertake engagements as the reigning Monarch (at least, he will once business returns to normal following the period of mourning). These include regular audiences with the British Prime Minister, hosting world leaders during visits and other miscellaneous formal engagements.
A period of mourning begins
Britain has now entered what is known as a period of mourning. This means flags will be flown at half mast, church bells are muffled, events are cancelled, and other royal families will come to the UK to pay their respects.
The Queen’s body will move to Edinburgh
Per the BBC, the Queen’s body will be moved from Balmoral Castle to Holyroodhouse, the royal palace in Edinburgh on Friday morning (UK time), where several “ceremonies” will take place with officials (this could include laying her body in a coffin). Following that, her remains will move south to London.
The Throne Room
Queen Elizabeth’s coffin—which will be decorated with crown jewels—will be placed in Buckingham Palace’s throne room.
After being laid in the throne room, the Queen’s body will be moved to Westminster Hall with a military procession, followed by immediate members of the royal family.
Her body will lie in state for four days , during which time audiences may come to view her body and pay their respects—the room will be open for 23 hours a day, which assumedly gives time for plenty of people to do so. But given the Queen’s legacy, we have a feeling the demand will exceed that. It’s likely that strict rules and a selective process will be in place to control the demand and to ensure the experience is peaceful.
The state funeral
About nine days following her death, a state funeral will be held for the Queen. The crown jewels from her coffin will be removed and cleaned and she will be moved to Westminster Abbey.
The funeral is expected to begin at 11am sharp, when the bells of Big Ben will chime.
The funeral will be televised everywhere, with the British royal family in attendance.
Following the funeral service, the Queen’s body will be transported to Windsor castle where she will be laid to rest in a vault inside—most likely next to her father, King George VI.
For more rolling coverage on Queen Elizabeth II’s death, follow the links below: