What happens next? Day by day after the Queen’s death

·5-min read
Flowers outside Buckingham Palace in London (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)
Flowers outside Buckingham Palace in London (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)

The Queen has died and Charles has addressed the nation for the first time as the new King.

Plans for the aftermath of the Queen’s death, codenamed London Bridge, now incorporate Operation Unicorn, the contingency plans for her death in Scotland.

Thursday September 8 would traditionally have been D-Day or D+0 in the plan but the announcement came late in the day – at around 6.30pm – meaning Friday was considered as D+0 to allow the complex arrangements to be put in place.

Here is the day-by-day account of what is expected to happen next, leading up to the Queen’s funeral in around nine days.

The funeral date, when confirmed, will be a public holiday in the form of a Day of National Mourning.

D+1 – Saturday September 10

The new King will be formally proclaimed as the new sovereign at an Accession Council in the State Apartments of St James’s Palace at 10am in a ceremony that will be televised for the first time.

First, the Privy Council gathers without the King to proclaim the new monarch and arrange business relating to the proclamation.

Then Charles holds his first Privy Council, accompanied by Camilla – the new Queen – and William who are also privy counsellors, and makes his personal declaration and oath.

The first public proclamation of the new sovereign will be read at 11am in the open air from the Friary Court balcony at St James’s Palace by the Garter King of Arms.

Proclamations are made around the city and across the nation on Saturday and Sunday.

Union flags go back up to full-mast at 1pm and remain there for around 24 hours to coincide with the proclamations before returning to half-mast.

Charles will also hold audiences with Prime Minister Liz Truss and the Cabinet.

D+2 – Sunday September 11

The Queen’s coffin is expected to be taken by road to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

Proclamations will be read in the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland devolved parliaments in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.

D+3 – Monday September 12

Procession expected along the Royal Mile to St Giles’ Cathedral. Service and the Vigil of the Princes by members of the royal family.

The public may get the chance to file past the Queen’s coffin at a mini lying in state in St Giles’.

The House of Commons and the House of Lords are expected to come together in Westminster for a Motion of Condolence, which the King could attend.

After leaving England and visiting Scotland, Charles will at some stage travel to the other countries of the UK – Wales and Northern Ireland – known as Operation Spring Tide.

D+4 – Tuesday September 13

Coffin expected to be flown to London. Expected to be at rest at Buckingham Palace.

A rehearsal for the procession of the coffin from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster takes place.

D+5 – Wednesday September 14

The Queen’s lying in state is expected to begin in Westminster Hall – Operation Marquee – following a ceremonial procession through London. It will last four full days.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will conduct a short service following the coffin’s arrival.

Hundreds of thousands of people will file past the coffin on its catafalque and pay their respects, just as they did for the Queen Mother’s lying in state in 2002.

The management of the queues outside is Operation Feather.

During the Covid-19 crisis, plans included the possibility of the introduction of timed ticketing for those wanting to attend.

Senior royals are also expected to pay their own moving tribute, standing guard at some stage around the coffin – the tradition known as the Vigil of the Princes.

D+6 – Thursday September 15 

Lying in state continues and a rehearsal is likely to take place for the state funeral procession.

D+7 – Friday September 16 – Sunday September 18

Lying in state continues, ending on D+9. Heads of state begin to arrive for the funeral.

D+10 – Monday September 19

The Queen’s state funeral is expected to take place at Westminster Abbey in central London.

The original plans are for the Queen’s coffin to process on a gun carriage to the abbey, pulled by naval ratings – sailors – using ropes rather than horses.

Senior members of the family are expected to follow behind – just like they did for the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh.

The military will line the streets and also join the procession.

Heads of state, prime ministers and presidents, European royals and key figures from public life will be invited to gather in the abbey, which can hold a congregation of 2,000.

The service will be televised, and a national two minutes’ silence is expected to be held.

The same day as the funeral, the Queen’s coffin will be taken to St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for a televised committal service.

Later in the evening, there will be a private interment service with senior members of the royal family.

The Queen’s final resting place will be the King George VI memorial chapel, an annex to the main chapel – where her mother and father were buried, along with the ashes of her sister, Princess Margaret.

Philip’s coffin will move from the Royal Vault to the memorial chapel to join the Queen’s.