What Happens in the U.K. Following Queen Elizabeth’s Death

The well-established 10-day plan, named Operation London Bridge, has been set into motion.

People walk past a photo of Queen Elizabeth II as they walk out of a subway station in London, Friday, September 9, 2022.<br/>

A commemorative photo of Queen Elizabeth II in a London subway station.

Photo by Felipe Dana/AP

Bells tolled across Britain on Friday and mourners flocked to palace gates to honor Queen Elizabeth II as the country entered a new age under a new king. Around the world, her exceptional reign was commemorated, celebrated, and debated.

King Charles III, who spent much of his 73 years preparing for the role, met the prime minister and prepared to address a nation grieving the only British monarch most people alive today had ever known. He takes the throne in an era of uncertainty for both his country and the monarchy itself.

As the country began a 10-day mourning period, people around the globe gathered at British embassies to pay homage to the queen, who died Thursday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. In London and at military sites across the United Kingdom, cannons fired 96 shots in an elaborate, 16-minute salute marking each year of the queen’s life.

Britain's King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort, arrive at Buckingham Palace after traveling from Balmoral following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.<br/>

Britain’s King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort, arrive at Buckingham Palace after traveling from Balmoral following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Photo by Victoria Jones/AP

On the king’s first full day of duties, Charles left Balmoral and flew to London for a meeting with Prime Minister Liz Truss, appointed by the queen just two days before her death.

He arrived at Buckingham Palace, the monarch’s London home, for the first time as sovereign, emerging from the official state Bentley limousine alongside Camilla, the Queen Consort, to shouts from the crowd of “Well done, Charlie!” and the singing of the national anthem, now called “God Save the King.”

The death of Queen Elizabeth II has triggered a series of carefully structured ceremonial and constitutional steps, as Britain undergoes a period of national mourning and heralds the reign of King Charles III.

The long-established 10-day plan, code-named Operation London Bridge, has been adapted to the specific circumstances of the queen’s death in Scotland, and some details have not been publicly confirmed.

Mourners gather outside Buckingham Palace to pay their respect the Queen in London.<br/>

Mourners gather outside Buckingham Palace to pay their respect to the queen in London.

Photo by Christophe Ena/AP

What will happen in the coming days in the U.K.

Friday, September 9

  • King Charles III and his wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, traveled from Balmoral Castle in Scotland to London.
  • At noon, church bells rang at Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and across the country in honor of the queen.
  • Also at noon, Parliament held a special session so lawmakers can pay tribute to the queen.
  • At 1 p.m., gun salutes were fired in London’s Hyde Park and at military sites around the country, one round for each of the 96 years of the queen’s life.
  • Afternoon: The king meets with new Prime Minister Liz Truss.
  • 6 p.m.: The king makes a televised address to the nation.
  • 6 p.m.: A service of remembrance is held at St. Paul’s Cathedral for the queen.

Saturday, September 10

  • 10 a.m.: Charles meets at St. James’s Palace with senior officials known as the Accession Council and is officially proclaimed king.
  • 11 a.m.: An official reads the proclamation aloud from a balcony at St. James’s Palace. It is also read out in other locations across the U.K.
  • 1 p.m.: Parliament holds a second day of tributes to the queen.

Sunday, September 11, and beyond

  • The queen’s body is moved from Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands to Edinburgh, where the coffin is likely to rest at Holyrood Palace before being moved to St. Giles’s Cathedral so members of the public can pay their respects.
  • The coffin will be transported by train or plane to London.
  • The queen will then lie in state for several days in Parliament’s Westminster Hall, where the public will again be able to pay their respects.
  • A state funeral at Westminster Abbey will be attended by leaders and dignitaries from around the world.

The period of national mourning will end the day after the queen’s funeral.

The Associated Press provides independent news journalism from around the world.
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