What will happen when The Queen dies?

26 August 2018, 12:37 | Updated: 31 August 2018, 12:37

Queen Elizabeth II
Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Plans for Queen Elizabeth II's death have been in place since the 1960s, and the operation that will follow is known as 'London Bridge is down'.

But what exactly will happen when the Queen’s reign comes to an end after so many years?

Here’s what we know so far:

  1. How will the news of her passing be shared?

    The Prime Minister will be told of the news ahead of its official public release, via the Queen’s private secretary, Sir Christopher Geidt.

    He will then tell the 15 countries and 36 Commonwealth nations where the Queen is head of state.

    The news will not be official until it is announced by Buckingham Palace. This will arrive in the form of a physical notice on the Buckingham Palace gates, and an alert via the Press Association.

    Unless her death happens in unexpected circumstances - in public, for example - it will be announced in the daytime rather than overnight, British time. 

    If the Queen’s death is expected - such as if she has been unwell - the news will be announced on the main TV and radio channels first.

    Pilots will apparently also announce news of her death on their flights.

  2. What happens in the immediate aftermath of the news?

    Flag at half mast
    Picture: Getty

    On the day itself, it is likely that many UK workers will be sent home early.

    A 12-day mourning period will follow, and the Queen’s body will be moved to Buckingham Palace - if it is not already there - and a state funeral will be planned, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

    Flags will also fly at half-mast across the nation.

    Broadcasters will also clear their schedules, and newsreaders will wear black suits and ties. Many scheduled TV and radio programmes will be pulled off air.

  3. Will businesses be affected and will there be a national holiday?

    On the day of the funeral, the London Stock Exchange will close, along with most UK banks.

    The day of the funeral and the following coronation will also become national holidays.

  4. What happens to the Queen's body?

    The Queen's coffin will lie in state in Westminster Hall for four days, allowing the public to pay their respects.

    Over 200,000 people paid their respects for the Queen Mother when her body was laid in state for three days, and so numbers for the Queen are expected to be much higher.

    Then, the body is expected to be laid to rest in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where both the Queen Mother and her father, King George VI, are also buried.

  5. When does the succession process begin?

    The Queen and Prince Charles
    Picture: Getty

    The Prince of Wales will become King instantly following the Queen’s death, and will address the nation on the night of her passing.

    The Duchess of Cornwall will also become Queen Camilla.

    However, Charles may choose to change his name, as royals can choose any one of their given names. He could be known as King Charles, Arthur, Philip or George.

    If he keeps his own name, he will become King Charles III, and his coronation will take place a few months after the Queen’s funeral.

    It is then highly likely that the Duke of Cambridge will become the Prince of Wales.

  6. What happens to stamps and money?

    Many everyday items such as stamps, currency and post boxes will eventually have the image or initials of the new King.

    However, this is likely to be a phasing-in process rather than a sudden change.