Flags to fly at half mast until morning after Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral

Aine Fox, PA
·3-min read

Flags will fly at half mast on UK Government buildings in tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh from now until the morning after his funeral.

Following Philip’s death on Friday, guidance was issued by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on the flying of official flags.

All such flags, which include Union Flags and any national flag, are to be “half-masted on all UK government buildings as soon as possible today until 0800 on the day following the funeral”, the department said.

It advises that any non-official flags, which include for example the rainbow flag or Armed Forces flag, should be taken down and replaced with a Union Flag flying at half-mast.

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The College of Arms said that all official flags, including the Union flag, will be flown at half mast until 8am on the day after Philip’s funeral, while non-official flags flying or due to be flown should be taken down and replaced with a Union flag flown at half-mast.

It said that this protocol will apply to “Flag Stations (establishments listed in the Queen’s Regulations for the Army), naval and RAF establishments, at home and abroad; all British Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates; and on all buildings of Her Majesty’s Government, Parliament, agencies and devolved administrations throughout the United Kingdom”.

The DCMS said devolved administrations would issue instructions “for the flying of the Union flag and other official flags on buildings in their estate and others as necessary”.

The Welsh Government has said flags will be flown at half mast on all Government buildings there and an online book of condolence will be opened for those who want to pay their respects.

A spokeswoman for the Northern Ireland Office said DCMS guidance “has been issued to local partners”.

Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh expressed his condolences on Twitter, as he ordered the flags outside Holyrood to fly at half mast.

On the other side of the world Australian prime minister Scott Morrison announced that flags there would be lowered “in honour of His Royal Highness”, who he said had visited the Commonwealth country on more than 20 occasions.

A notice announcing Philip's death was placed on the front gates of Buckingham Palace (Ian West/PA)
A notice announcing Philip’s death was placed on the front gates of Buckingham Palace (Ian West/PA)

The Union flag on Buckingham Palace was at half mast on Friday, while a framed plaque announcing Philip’s death was placed on the front gates by royal household staff.

The notice remained on the gates for around an hour before being taken down, and some people laid flowers.

Members of the public had been told to wear a mask and line up behind a barrier to view the plaque, while some police officers on horses stopped small crowds from gathering.

People are being asked not to gather outside royal residences or lay flowers, as coronavirus rules remain in place.

A spokesperson for the Cabinet Office said: “Although this is an extraordinarily difficult time for many, we are asking the public not to gather at royal residences, and continue to follow public health advice particularly on avoiding meeting in large groups and on minimising travel.

“We are supporting the royal household in asking that floral tributes should not be laid at royal residences at this time.”

The statement on the plaque outside Buckingham Palace read: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.

“Further announcements will be made in due course.

“The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”