What will happen when Queen Elizabeth II dies?

At the age of 94, Queen Elizabeth II. the longest reigning living monarch in the world

Photo: IG @theroyalfamily

Everything you need to know about what will happen when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II passes away.

When you think of the United Kingdom, it's impossible not to conjure up an image of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the island nation has ruled for 69 years. The mother of four worked as a mechanic and drove trucks during World War II, and since stepping into the Queen's shoes in 1952, she has spoken to 13 prime ministers and 13 US presidents, led 53 countries in the Commonwealth of Nations and hosted eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. When Prince Philip announced his retirement in May 2017 at the age of 96, with the full support of the Queen, it was a poignant warning that the famous couple would not be able - or willing - to carry out public duties forever.


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On Friday, April 9, Buckingham Palace announced that it is Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, died at the age of 99. He was the oldest male member of the British royal family ever. As the UK is still in national lockdown until June 21st due to the coronavirus pandemic, there will of course be a number of procedures to follow following the Duke's death. The funeral, which will take place on April 17, will therefore be very limited. Among other things, there will be no public funeral procession, but the funeral will be broadcast live on television. There is a period of mourning throughout the country until the funeral. According to protocol, the royal family does not carry out most of its duties during this time and Queen Elizabeth does not sign laws to bring them into force.


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But what will happen when Queen Elizabeth II dies? Here's everything you need to know.

Will Prince Charles become King when the Queen dies?

The Prince of Wales will become King after the Queen's death and will address the nation that same evening. Meanwhile, the Duchess of Cornwall will become Queen Camilla.

If Prince Charles decides to keep his name (the royals can choose another name at their coronation), it is likely that King Charles III Prince William, Duke of Cambridge is believed to be the Prince of Wales.

On November 28, 2019, The Sun newspaper reported that the Queen will "retire" within 18 months of her 94th birthday. It was also believed that Prince Charles would take over the Queen's duties this year. A source close to the royal family is said to have told the newspaper at the time: "Preparations for Charles to become king have been underway for some time. The transition is practically at the door. Her Majesty is in her nineties and understandably can only do so much.”

The Queen has been slowly reducing the number of public events she attends in recent years, from 332 in 2016 to 283 in 2018, while the Prince of Wales has increased their number and made an official visit to New Zealand in November 2019.

The coronation of Prince Charles and the Queen's death will become national holidays.

What will happen on the day the Queen dies?

If death due to illness is approaching, a shorter bulletin will come from the palace before her death. If the death is unexpected, it will come right after.

On the night of the death of her father, King George VI. the palace announced: "The life of the king is peacefully drawing to a close."

Two days before Queen Victoria's death in 1901, for example, they wrote: "The Queen is suffering from great physical infirmity, accompanied by symptoms which cause great concern."


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How will the public know the Queen has died?

The message will first be sent to the world news agency Press Association and other world media. According to tradition, a footman in mourning clothes will come out of Buckingham Palace and attach a black-bordered notice to the door. For example, the plinth announcing the death of Prince Philip was placed outside Buckingham Palace after his death on 9 April 2021.

"While he does this, the official palace website will be redesigned to display only a black background with the same text as the notice in front of the palace," the Guardian explains.

Also included will be a radio warning transmission system, also known as “Rats”, which is actually a war alarm.

In 2011, BBC Radio 1's head of music, Chris Price, wrote for the Huffington Post: “If you ever hear Haunted Dancehall (Nursery Remix) by Sabers of Paradise on Radio 1's daytime programme, turn on the TV. Something horrible just happened.”

If the Queen's death is expected, the news will first spread across the main television channels, with all BBC programs suspended, with only BBC One reporting her death. Newsreaders will wear black suits and ties, which they keep on standby at all times. The broadcast of comedic content will also be interrupted, which will return to television only after the funeral.

What will happen in the hours after the Queen's death?

It may sound morbid, but newspapers around the world have obituaries ready to run when news of Her Majesty's death is announced.

Flags across Britain will be flown at half-mast (as in the case of the Duke of Edinburgh's death) and there have been rumors for several years that workers will be sent home early on that day. After the day of the Queen's death, it will follow 12 days of mourning. During this time, the Queen's body will be moved to Buckingham Palace and preparations will be made for a state funeral. The Archbishop of Canterbury will be in charge of funeral arrangements.

Her Majesty's coffin will lie in state at Westminster Hall for four days for the public to pay their respects. Should the Queen die during the novel coronavirus pandemic, procedures will have to be adjusted.

After this period, her body was finally laid to rest in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. The Queen Mother and King George VI are also buried there.


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More changes are coming

The anthem will be played again God Save The King, while the Royal Mail and the Royal Mint will immediately begin production of new postage stamps and coins featuring Charles. Coins and stamps with Queen Elizabeth II. they will be in circulation for about three years after her death. But it is not only the anthem, stamps and coins that will change. The police will need other insignia on their helmets, and the British will update passports. The Queen is also rumored to be getting a fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.

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