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The Queen has held on to the throne for almost seven decades, far exceeding the rule of Empress of India Queen Victoria. She is now 94 and shows no sign of slowing down in the near or distant future. The monarch has also chosen not to relinquish her position until her death, raising questions about what might happen should the situation arise.
What happens when the Queen dies?
The Queen has remained in her position so long it would prove difficult to predict with certainty what would happen on her death.
But the death of a monarch will ripple both through public and private life, and officials have formed a plan.
The Queen’s death would start publicly with the word “bridge”.
London Bridge is down is the code phrase used to signal when the Queen dies.
Only those in her inner circle will find out first, as the news gradually ripples out towards the general public.
Millions of news organisations will already have obituaries and pieces prepared to publish the second they receive the information.
The Queen’s funeral would likely follow 12 days of national mourning, during which the Queen’s body will lie in Westminster Hall.
Crowds would gather to get one last glimpse of the late Queen, with flags lowered to half-mast.
The Archbishop of Canterbury would lead the funeral, either from Westminster Abbey or St Paul’s Cathedral, before burial alongside her mother and father in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
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Prince Charles will become the next British monarch immediately, taking the throne after his time as the longest king-in-waiting in history.
He is free to choose his own regnal title, and may not become King Charles III as experts assume.
His full name is Charles Philip Arthur George, so he could become the next King Philip if he wanted.
Prince Charles’s accession is automatic and doesn’t require a coronation for him to rule in his mother’s place.
The Accession Council – made up of the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Privy Councillors, House of Lords Members, and high commissioners of Commonwealth realms – acknowledges and proclaims his position.
A coronation is a state event, not like a royal wedding, managed by the Government and attended by statesmen, and the Archbishop of Canterbury will crown the new king.
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