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Queen Elizabeth II: What happens when the Queen dies?

How long will national mourning last?

Britain will enter a period of 10 days of mourning, although only the day of the Queen’s funeral will be a national holiday.

When will the Queen’s funeral take place?

The Queen’s funeral will then take place at Westminster Abbey, probably 10 days later. On this day there will be a two-minute national silence, and the Stock Exchange will close. It will also be a national holiday.

How many bank holiday days will there be?

As well as the day of the Queen’s funeral, King Charles’s Coronation Day will be a national holiday, although it’s likely that the latter will not take place until several months, or even a year, later, in order to allow a respectful gap between the country’s mourning of the Queen and its celebration of a new monarch on the throne.

VICTORIA JONES—WPA POOL/GETTY IMAGE

When will Prince Charles become King?

Officially, King Charles became King on the day that the Queen passed away, with an announcement that he is the new monarch by the Ascension Council the following day.

Thursday’s news that Queen Elizabeth’s doctors were “concerned for her health” and that Prince Charles and Prince William were rushing to Balmoral Castle, where the Queen is staying, have raised fears that her long reign as monarch could be over soon.

It’s a sad time, but one that the Crown has been preparing for since the 1960s. It’s called Operation London Bridge, and the steps that will be taken when the Queen does pass away are strictly controlled. Here’s what to expect:

The call

It starts with a phone call. At the time of the Queen’s death, Sir Edward Young, her private secretary, will call the Prime Minister and say “London Bridge is down.” It was just Tuesday that Elizabeth met with and appointed newly installed U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss following the resignation of Boris Johnson, who bid his farewell to the Queen earlier that day.

The notifications

Once the Prime Minister has been alerted, news will go out to the 15 governments where the Queen is still head of state, including Jamaica, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Canada, and the Bahamas. After that, officials in the 38 other nations in the Commonwealth will be alerted to the news.

At that point, a footman dressed in black will pin an official notice to the gates of Buckingham Palace.

Queen Elizabeth meets with newly installed U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss on Sep. 6.

JANE BARLOW—POOL/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

The alarm

At the BBC, there’s an alarm that signals national emergencies. Many who work there have no idea what it sounds like, but it will go off when the Queen dies. At that point, the BBC’s logo, which is usually red, will be changed to black. And all anchors will wear black suits and ties.

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A little before 9:45 a.m. ET, the BBC’s logo on its website turned black, and anchors are wearing black, though there was no official word about the Queen’s state.

JANE BARLOW—POOL/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

The transition of power

Flags will be lowered to half-mast and Prince Charles will unofficially become king immediately upon Elizabeth’s death. He is expected to make his first speech as head of state the evening of his mother’s passing.

The day after her death, flags will be raised again and at 11:00 a.m. local time, Charles will officially become king and Camilla will become the U.K.’s queen.

He’ll then undertake a tour of the U.K., stopping in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales to attend services. While that takes place, Westminster Hall will be prepped for Elizabeth’s funeral.

The funeral

Four days after Elizabeth’s death, there will be a procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall. Elizabeth will lie in state for four days, then be buried nine days after she passes.

Two thousand invited guests, largely heads of state, will attend in person. The funeral will be broadcast globally.

Elizabeth is expected to then be buried next to her late husband, Prince Philip, and her father, King George VI.

There’s much more to Operation London Bridge, which is an incredibly detailed preparation for the monarch’s passing.

For instance, if Elizabeth dies at Balmoral, her body will first lie in Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, before being carried up the Royal Mile to St. Giles’s Cathedral.

Afterward, it will be put on the Royal to return to London. The BBC will cancel all comedy shows for 12 days following her death.

And, of course, the words to the national anthem will change to “God Save the King.”

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Written by How Africa

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