Prince Charles’ royal protocol on day of Queen’s death explained by constitutional expert

Prince Charles ‘up for it’ says commentator

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Prince Charles, 73, is gearing up to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee to mark her historic 70-year reign. In the run-up to the royal milestone, Her Majesty’s son and heir has represented the 96-year-old monarch at a string of recent events amid ongoing “mobility issues”. Among these, the Prince of Wales performed the state at the opening of Parliament earlier this month on behalf of his mother.

Ahead of the Jubilee, there have been calls for Charles to be made Prince Regent, an arrangement that allows for a monarch’s duties to be fulfilled should they become incapacitated.

Against the backdrop of these developments, spoke to a constitutional expert to look at the royal protocol for Charles acceding the Queen to the throne.

Dr Robert Morris from University College London’s Constitution Unit explained what will happen on the day Her Majesty passes away.

He said: “She dies, and in a process called ‘Demise’, events take place, which not only deal with her death, but also the inheritance of her heir.

“And the law is that as soon as she dies, her heir immediately becomes King in this case.

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“We don’t know what title he will take. He does have a choice over that.

“He’s got rather a lot of Christian names to consider as it were, but we expect him to call himself Charles.”

The term ‘Demise’ comprises two things: the death of the Sovereign and the accession of their successor according to law.

Dr Morris explained that Charles will become King immediately after the Queen’s death, because there cannot be a gap in executive government.

He said: “He becomes King immediately. The law is that there’s never any interruption.

“And that’s the common law rule, which has been present for centuries.

“The Latin tag is ‘Nunquma Rex Moritur’ – that is, ‘the King never dies’.

“This is the notion that the monarch has to wear two aspects of his personality, the constitutional function, which of course must continue, you can’t have a break in executive government.

“And the personal, which is of course he is human, and he does die.”

He added: “But the notion in law is that he never does and so the succession passes on immediately with the last breath of the Queen.”

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Details of the Royal Family’s plan for the day the Queen dies were leaked to Politico in September last year.

Codenamed Operation London Bridge, the procedures go into minute detail about how Her Majesty’s passing will be shared with the Prime Minister, top Government officials and then the public.

According to documents obtained by the magazine, the Prime Minister will meet with King Charles, who will then deliver a broadcast to the nation at 6pm.

The timetable of events according to Politico was similar to the protocol Dr Morris outlined with

He said: “We think that the Prince – now the King – will then make a broadcast on the evening of his mother’s death.

“And the plan apparently is that he will then travel to the provincial capitals for memorial services which will be held there in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.

“Meanwhile, arrangements are made of course for the lying in state of the Queen which will take place in Westminster Hall.

“I’m not sure for how long it will last but I imagine a very large number of people will wish to pay their last respects by passing by the catafalque and the coffin in the Hall.

“Then a funeral will take place sometime later, which we understand was going to take place in Westminster Abbey.”

He added: “But the internment itself will take place in St George’s Chapel in Windsor.”

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