Buckingham Palace confirms details on its period of royal mourning

Buckingham Palace announces period of mourning begins now and will last until seven days after the Queen’s funeral – with King Charles III to have an audience with the PM and a gun salute to take place today

  • Buckingham Palace today confirmed a period of royal mourning to last until seven days after Queen’s funeral 
  • Flags at all royal residences will remain at half-mast until 8am on the morning after period of mourning ends
  • King Charles III to hold first audience with the PM today after flying down to London from Aberdeen 
  • Queen dies aged 96: Follow for the latest updates from Balmoral as Britain’s Elizabeth II passes 
  • Full coverage: Click here to see all our coverage of the Queen’s passing

Buckingham Palace today announced a period of royal mourning will be observed from now until seven days after the Queen’s funeral as the slowing of everyday life in Britain begins to mark the extraordinary reign of Elizabeth II. 

The new King confirmed his wish to hold an extended period of royal mourning, lasting a week until after his mother’s funeral, the full details of which have yet to be announced. 

Flags at all royal residences will remain at half-mast until 8am on the morning after the period of royal mourning officially ends. 

The period will be observed by all members of the royal family, household staff and representatives of the royal household on official duties. Troops committed to ceremonial duties are also expected to observe. 

Charles and his wife remained at Balmoral overnight after racing up to Scotland to be at the bedside of the Queen, whose death was announced to the nation yesterday evening.

He will return to the capital today, before meeting Prime Minister Liz Truss and making a televised statement at 6pm.

The death of The Queen was announced at 6.30pm yesterday via the Royal Family’s official Twitter account

The new King confirmed his wish to hold an extended period of royal mourning, lasting a week until after his mother’s funeral, the full details of which have yet to be announced 

The Queen is seen with her eldest son King Charles on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations

Buckingham Palace today confirmed a period of royal mourning will be observed from now until seven days after the Queen’s funeral as the slowing of everyday life in Britain begins to mark the extraordinary reign of Elizabeth II 

‘London Bridge is down’ – Buckingham Palace’s behind-the-scenes code for Queen Elizabeth II’s death – triggers a period of mourning in which normal life in the UK will dramatically slow for the next ten days

‘London Bridge is down’ – Buckingham Palace’s behind-the-scenes code for Queen Elizabeth II’s death – triggers a period of mourning in which normal life in the UK will dramatically slow for the next ten days. 

Due to the announcement coming so late in the day, at 6.30pm, the meticulously-planned programme of events for the aftermath of the Queen’s death has now moved back a day – meaning D-Day or D+0 begins today. 

The complex strategy, a major undertaking on an unprecedented stage, for the final farewell to Elizabeth II will be formally set in motion once approved by King Charles III.

As Her Majesty’s death occurred in Scotland, a contingency plan known as Operation Unicorn has been triggered. The mythical creature is Scotland’s national animal.

Part of the long-held London Bridge arrangements, Unicorn sets in motion additional ceremonial events in Edinburgh ahead of the logistics of bringing the Queen back to London. 

With the monarch spending several months a year at her beloved home in the Highlands, the plans for a Scottish element have been organised for some time. 

The Queen’s coffin – draped in the Royal Standard with a wreath of her favourite flowers on top – is expected to be at rest in the ballroom of her beloved Balmoral Castle for two days while arrangements are made. 

MailOnline details below how Britain will begin to mark the life of our longest-reigning monarch on D+0:

EARLY MORNING: 

Buckingham Palace announced this morning the length of royal mourning for members of the royal family and households will last from now until seven days after the Queen’s funeral, with a date for that yet to be set.

Union flags on all royal buildings will fly at half-mast until 8am the day after the period of royal mourning ends as a mark of respect, while flags in London’s Parliament Square and the Mall will today be dressed in black. 

The new King and the Queen Consort are set to fly out of Aberdeen International Airport and return to London today after staying with family, advisors and aides overnight in Balmoral. 

He will then turn his attention to approve the carefully approved funeral plans for his mother, and will meet the Earl Marshal who leads on the accession process and remembrance services. 

The Government will itself confirm the length of national mourning, likely to be around 12 to 13 days, from now up to the day after the Queen’s funeral. They will also announce that the funeral day will be a public holiday in the form of a Day of National Mourning.

The Queen with her eldest son Prince Charles and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall ahead of the annual Order of the Garter service at St George’s Chapel on June 13, 2022

The Queen and the then Prince Charles are seen out walking in Balmoral in October 2021. It was one of the last times the mother and son were pictured together

The Queen and the now King Charles, dressed in full military uniform, welcomed a small number of healthcare professionals to the ornate confines of Windsor Castle on July 12 2020

MIDDAY: 

The solemn rings from Westminster Abbey’s tenor bell and Great Tom, the state bell at St Paul’s Cathedral, will peal over the capital from midday for an hour. Churches across the country are also being urged to toll their bells at noon in a show of support.

Charles will begin his stately duties by holding his first audience with the Prime Minister as monarch this afternoon.

Tributes to the Queen will be paid by MPs in the House of Commons, led by Prime Minister Liz Truss and Speaker of the House Lindsay Hoyle. The House may also sit on Saturday, a highly unusual move, to pay further tribute.

Peers will also convene for an extraordinary session in the House of Lords, lasting for 10 hours.

1PM: 

Gun salutes from the Honourable Artillery Company at the Tower of London and the The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery at Hyde Park will sound out an hour later – with one every 10 seconds for each year of Elizabeth’s life. 

96 rounds are also expected to be fired in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast as the home nations also pay lasting tribute to the United Kingdom’s longest-serving monarch.

Royal residences – including The Queen’s gallery and Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, will close until after the Queen’s funeral. 

Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland and Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House, the Queen’s private estates, will also close for this period 

EARLY EVENING: 

Later in the day the King’s pre-recorded address, where he will vow to pledge his service to the nation as a new sovereign, and is expected to be broadcast at 6pm.

The Prime Minister, and senior ministers will attend a public service of remembrance at St Paul’s Cathedral.

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