Does the British government know what to do in case Queen Elizabeth II passes away? It’s a morbid question that has received a little more attention ever since reports came out that the Queen had fallen ill.
Throughout her reign, the Queen has rarely had to miss official events due to health reasons. This is why royal fans were concerned when the Queen had canceled an appearance at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England. Buckingham Palace later released a terse statement saying that the Queen “is feeling under the weather today.”
But even without reports of her getting sick, the long-reigning Queen of England is already 92 years old. It’s only common sense that contingency plans have already been put in place in the event of her death. So the question is, what will happen then?
First of all, a code word announcing the Queen’s death will be sent to the prime minister. According to The Guardian, the code is, “London Bridge is down.”
In addition, most of the staff at Buckingham Palace and other royal properties will be sent home. England will also be at a stand-still for 12 days to commemorate her passing. The funeral date and the day her successor is crowned will be public holidays. In all, Britain can expect to run an estimated £1.2 billion to £6 billion ($1.6 billion to $7.9 billion) bill.
During the 12 day mourning period, no comedy shows will play on the BBC. Should the Queen die during the overnight hours, the BBC will immediately switch to the BBC1 feed for the official announcement.
Should the Queen die at night, the announcement will be made at 8 AM GMT. If the death occurs during working hours, the London Stock Exchange can be expected to close. Flags will fly at half-mast and tourist attractions will also close.
BBC reporters are said to practice making the somber announcement and are said to have black clothes ready to wear in case of a death in the Royal family.
There will also be changes to the national anthem to reflect the Queen’s death. Official condolences from other countries and heads of state are expected to pour in during this time.
While all of this is happening, an Accession Council will be meeting at St. James’s Palace to formally declare the Queen’s chosen successor. After the new monarch is sworn in, Britain’s politicians will be required to swear fealty to the new ruler.
The Queen’s body will “lie in state” Westminster Hall to allow the public to pay their respects. During this time, a vigil of the Princes may also be held. This involves having male family members of the Queen relieve the official guards watching over the Queen’s body.
The Queen has participated in planning certain aspects of her funeral. On the day of the funeral, the Queen’s coffin will be taken to Westminster Abbey by gun carriage. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will preside over the funerary rites and the whole ceremony will likely be televised worldwide.
There is still some speculation about the final resting place of the Queen’s body. Balmoral, Sandringham, and St. George’s Chapel in Windsor (where the Queen’s father King George VI is buried) have all been floated as possible locations.
The coronation of the new King (or Queen) will occur one year after the funeral. The event will be celebrated throughout the United Kingdom and when that happens, new bills have to be printed, police officers and soldiers will have new uniforms, and passports and stamps will also change.
Queen Elizabeth named her son, Prince Charles, as her chosen successor on April 2018. During his coronation, Prince Charles may choose to keep his birth name or adopt a “regnal” name like Phillip, Arthur, or George instead.
When news came out that the Queen had fallen ill, Express reached out to the royal palace the next day to inquire about her health. While they replied that there was no change in her status, no doctor was called to attend to the Queen and she was able to travel to Windsor, England as scheduled.