Queen Elizabeth II has been alive for longer than most of us and yet it seems hard to believe that she will one day die. However, there are many plans already in place to deal with this eventuality.
The responsibility for dealing with the news first falls to the Queen’s private secretary, who will inform the Prime Minister. From there, the Foreign Office will notify the Commonwealth nations.
The national and world press will also be told and shortly afterwards a footman at Buckingham Palace will pin a notice to the gates announcing her demise. This will be replicated on the Palace website too.
Television and radio programmes will be interrupted with an announcement of her death. Similarly, to the deaths of Kennedy and Princess Diana, you will undoubtedly remember where you first heard the news.
Social media will likely erupt and you may well hear it there first.
The country will enter into an immediate period of mourning. Parliament will be recalled and Charles will become King – unless his mother outlives him and then it will fall to the next in line, William.
- Under common law, the wife of a King is automatically referred to as Queen, so despite any question marks over Camilla’s role, she will become Queen Camilla.
- In the event that the Queen dies abroad, she will fly home by an RAF jet. From Balmoral, she will travel back on the Royal Train.
- She will return to Buckingham Palace, flags will lower and bells will toll across the nation.
- In the time between her death and funeral, thousands of people will be involved in the myriad of activities surrounding a monarch’s death.
- Invitations will be issued for her funeral. Government departments will coordinate with the police, security, armed forces and transport to ensure the safety of the politicians, heads of state and public that will be attending and lining the streets.
- The words to the National Anthem will be amended and new postage stamps and currency will be created.
- Charles will be expected to make his first address as Head of State on the evening of his mother’s death. He will be proclaimed King the following day and will then commence a tour visiting
- Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff to attend remembrance services.
- Television schedules will change. Some sporting fixtures may be cancelled and books of condolence will appear in town halls nationally and embassies around the world.
- The Queen will be moved to Westminster Abbey to lie in state for several days. Four soldiers will guard her at all times and it’s thought the Queen’s children and grandchildren will arrive
- unannounced to stand vigil as well.
The day of the funeral will be a national day of mourning and a public holiday. The Archbishop of Canterbury will lead the service and afterwards her coffin will be taken to Windsor to be interred in the royal vault.
It will certainly be a sad and historic moment for all, but these plans will ensure the event will occur as smoothly as possible.