Here’s What Happens After Queen Elizabeth’s Death & How Soon the Next Royal Will Take the Throne

·7 min read

Since the news of her death on September 8, at the age of 96, there have been questions over what happens after Queen Elizabeth dies and who will take over the throne after she passes away. Her passing was confirmed by Buckingham Palace with a statement that read: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

Queen Elizabeth II is the first child of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. She became Queen of the United Kingdom as well as the other Commonwealth countries in February 1952 after the death of her father. She was 25 years old at the time. She was married to Philip Mountbatten, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, from November 1947 until Prince Philip’s death in April 2021. The two had four children together: Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.

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Buckingham Palace announced on September 8, 2022, that Queen Elizabeth was put under “medical supervision” due to “concern” from her doctors. “Following further evaluation this morning, The Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision,” the statement read. “The Queen remains comfortable and at Balmoral.” The palace also confirmed that Prince Charles, Camila Parker Bowles and Prince William were immediately informed of the Queen’s health. “Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have traveled to Balmoral,” the palace said.

News of the Queen’s Health came seven months after Hollywood Unlocked falsely reported that the Queen had died at the age of 95. The rumors came just days after Buckingham Palace confirmed the Queen had tested positive for COVID-19 after coming in close contact with Prince Charles, who contracted the virus earlier that month. Hollywood Unlocked falsely reported at the time that the Queen was “found dead” after she was set to attend a wedding. “It is with our deepest regret to inform you that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has died,” the site reported at the time. “Sources close to the Royal Kingdom notified us exclusively that Queen Elizabeth has passed away. She was scheduled to attend the wedding of British Vogue editor Edward Enninful, but was found dead.”

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While the site did not cite any official palace sources, Hollywood Unlocked CEO and founder Jason Lee backed up the outlet’s claims on Twitter. “We don’t post lies and I always stand by my sources,” he tweeted at the time. “Waiting for an official statement from the palace.” Lee reiterated his stance on Instagram, writing, “I’ve never lied;” “I’ve never been wrong;” “I trust my sources;” and “I have yet to see an official statement from the palace saying otherwise,” in a numbered list. Despite Lee’s statements, Hollywood Unlocked’s reports were confirmed to be incorrect.

So what happens when Queen Elizabeth dies? Read on to find out who takes over the throne after the Queen passes away and who’s next in the line of British succession.

What happens when Queen Elizabeth dies?

Image: Ben Stansall – WPA Pool/Getty Images.
Image: Ben Stansall – WPA Pool/Getty Images.

What happens when Queen Elizabeth II dies? According to Politico, Buckingham Palace has a plan in place in the event the Queen dies. The plan is titled “Operation London Bridge” if the Queen dies in London; and “Operation Union” if the Queen dies in Scotland.) After the Queen’s death, there will be 10 days of activity.

What happens immediately after Queen Elizabeth dies?

Immediately after the Queen’s death (a day referred to as “D-Day”), news will be shared with United Kingdom government officials with a code phrase rumored to be: “London Bridge is down.” The Prime Minister will be informed by the Queen’s private secretary, while other senior ministers and officials will be informed before the general public via an official notification from Buckingham Palace. News of the Queen’s death will also be shared with the governments of which she is the head of state, along with the nations of Commonwealth, which she is considered a symbolic figurehead for.

After government officials are told of the Queen’s death, the news will then be announced to the public in a release to the British Press Association. Flags across Whitehall will be lowered to half mast. Buckingham Palace will also other stage displays of mourning, including black imagery on its official social media accounts and websites and a black death announcement pinned to the gates of Buckingham Palace in London. The British royal family and the prime minister are also expected to issue official statements. The heir apparent to the British throne—the Queen’s eldest son, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales—will also deliver a broadcast to the United Kingdom’s as its new king at 6 p.m. local time. A service of remembrance will also take place at St. Paul’s Cathedral that night. The British royal family will also announce plans for the Queen’s funeral, which is expected to be held 10 days after her death.

What happens the day after Queen Elizabeth dies?

The day after Queen Elizabeth dies, Prime Minister Liz Truss, who was received by the Queen in September 2022, and her Cabinet will meet the Queen’s coffin at St. Pancras station. If the Queen dies in Balmoral, Scotland, “Operation Union” will be executed, which means her body will transported to London by royal train if possible. If travel by train isn’t possible, “Operation Overstudy” will be enacted instead and her body will travel by plane.

What happens on the third and fourth days after Queen Elizabeth dies?

In the third and fourth day after Queen Elizabeth dies, Prince Charles, now King, will start his tour of the United Kingdom. Charles is expected to finish touring the whole country the day before the queen’s funeral. On the fourth day after the Queen’s death, a rehearsal for the procession of the Queen’s coffin from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster will take place.

What happens on the fifth day after Queen Elizabeth dies?

In the fifth day after Queen Elizabeth dies, the procession of the Queen’s coffin from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster will occur. The service will end in Westminster Hall.

What happens on the sixth day after Queen Elizabeth dies?

After the procession, the Queen’s coffin will remain at the Palace of Westminster for three days, where the public can visit her and pay their respects starting on the sixth day after Queen Elizabeth’s death. On the sixth day after the Queen’s death, the state funeral processional rehearsal will occur. Heads of state from other government, as well as VIPs from abroad will start to arrive for the Queen’s funeral.

What happens during Queen Elizabeth’s funeral?

The day of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral will be known as a “Day of National Mourning,” something the Prime Minister and the Queen agreed upon before her death. The day will also be a bank holiday for the United Kingdom. (If it falls on an existing bank holiday or weekend, not extra day will be given off, however.) Employers will not be ordered to give their employees the day off, however, it is encouraged.

The Queen’s funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey. A two-minute silence across the United Kingdom will also happen midday. A committal service will be held in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle before the Queen is buried in the castle’s King George VI Memorial Chapel.

Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch

Image: Courtesy of Random House.
Image: Courtesy of Random House.

Buy: ‘Elizabeth the Queen’ by Sally Bedell Smith $7.95+

For more about the British royal family, check out Sally Bedell Smith’s 2012 biography, Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch. The New York Times bestseller, which includes the “real story” behind several storylines featured in Netflix’s The Crown, follows Queen Elizabeth II’s life from her childhood as the “heiress presumptive” to her father, King George VI; to the moment he et her husband, Prince Philip, when she was 13 years old; to her ascension to the throne at 25 years old in 1952. Elizabeth the Queen, which also includes interviews with Buckingham Palace sources and never-before-revealed documents, provides a deep dive into the Queen’s legacy as one of the most famous monarchs in recent history.

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"Watch This Space" - Amazon Prime Video
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