What Happens When The Queen Dies And Why Prince Phillip Will Not Be Getting A State Funeral

The Queen has entered an eight-day period of mourning following the death of her husband Prince Philip at the age of 99. 

The sad news of the Prince’s death was announced this morning, April 9, with the statement from Buckingham Palace reading:  

‘It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. ‘His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.’ 

Following the announcement of the sad news on the monarch has withdrawn from public life, with all engagements being put on hold for this period, and no affairs of State being conducted. 

While the Duke is entitled to a state funeral, he chose instead to have a private military-style funeral at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle – and be laid to rest in the private Frogmore Gardens. 

Following this the Queen will enter an official Royal Mourning period for 30 days before she returns to public life. But what will happen when the Queen herself passes away? 

What happens when the Queen dies? 

When the Queen’s death is confirmed, a code word will be used to inform the Prime Minister of the news. According to the Guardian, the leader will be woken from their sleep if necessary and told by civil servants that ‘London Bridge is down.’

The PM will then know this means Queen Elizabeth II has passed away, with a series of events which will follow known as Operation London Bridge. 

A key part of the initial tasks would include notifying foreign governments, which will be handled by the Foreign Office – who would inform 15 governments outside the UK. 

The message would then be passed to the 36 other nations in the Commonwealth for whom the Queen is still a figurehead. 

How will the news be announced? 

The way the Queen’s death would be announced will depend on how she dies. 

If, for instance, her passing is expected due to a long illness or similar, there will already be a plan in place should it happen. 

Because it’s funded by license-payers, all BBC channels would show the BBC One broadcast announcing her death. Other channels are not required to interrupt regular scheduling, though it’s almost certain they will. 

If her death was sudden or in a public place, the palace would have little control over the news spreading. 

Following the initial announcement, the BBC will cancel scheduled comedy shows until after her funeral.

Meanwhile, blue lights will begin flashing at commercial radio stations which will alert the DJ to switch to the news and play ‘inoffensive music’ in the meantime. 

Newscasters on TV screens will wear black attire with news likely to dominate most channels for weeks. 

What will Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral look like? 

Before her burial, the Queen’s body will ‘lie in state’ in Westminster Hall, open for 23 hours a day until the funeral. 

When the coffin arrives there will be a short ceremony; before people will be able to pay their respects.

The number of mourners expected to queue up to see the Queen is immeasurable. 

More than 200,000 members of the public paid their respects to the Queen Mother when she died in 2002. And after Princess Diana’s death in 1997, tens of thousands of mourners laid bouquets of flowers outside the palace. 

The funeral itself would be likely to take place 12 days after the Queen’s death and will be broadcast on TV and streamed online. 

The state funeral will begin with her coffin being taken to Westminster Abbey by gun carriage, where it will be led by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. 

Leaders and heads of state from across the world will attend, and it’s likely that members of the public will line the route of the funeral cortege.

Following the funeral, the Queen’s body could be laid to rest in a number of places. Many speculate that she could be buried either at Balmoral or Sandringham. 

Other reports suggest she would be buried in a plot next to her father King George VI at St George’s Chapel in Windsor. 

When would Prince Charles become king? 

As first in line to the throne, the Prince of Wales will become King Charles III as soon as his mother has passed away. 

He can however choose his own title and use any of his other Christian names from his full name of Charles Philip Arthur George. 

Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II immediately following the death of her father, King George VI. 

This is because a throne is never vacant – sovereignty passes on accession rather than coronation. It is expected that the accession council would then meet at St James’ Palace to declare him king, which is just a formality. 

His coronation ceremony will also be arranged, but it is likely to be far sooner than Elizabeth’s was. 

The words to the National Anthem and new postage stamps and currency would also be minted and printed to reflect his ascension to the throne. 

Prince William would also be made Prince Of Wales and the Duchess of Cambridge would become the Princess of Wales – the same title that was held by Princess Diana.

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