UK enters period of national mourning for Prince Philip: what does this mean - and what is cancelled?

The UK entered a period of national mourning after Prince Philip died aged 99

The UK entered a period of national mourning following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh on Friday (9 April).

The period of mourning will last to and include his funeral on Saturday 17 April.

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But what does a period of national mourning mean, and what events are cancelled as a result?

Union flags at royal residences and on government buildings were lowered to half-mast on Friday (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

What does the period of national mourning mean?

The Queen has approved a recommendation by Prime Minister Boris Johnson for a period of national mourning.

This means Union Jacks will be flown at half-mast on royal residences, Government buildings, Armed Forces establishments and at UK posts overseas for the next week.

Union flags at royal residences and on government buildings were lowered to half-mast on Friday and will stay that way until 8am on the day after the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

Public services and any Government service related to the response to the Covid-19 pandemic will continue as normal. People will still be able to access information and services online as necessary, guidance issued by the Cabinet Office states.

Will businesses have to close?

No, business will not have to close.

The guidance over the period says there is “no expectation for businesses to close during the mourning period unless they wish to”.

The decision is for individual organisations to make.

Many businesses in England such as non-essential shops and outdoor hospitality are due to reopen on Monday, having been closed for months in the third national lockdown.

The guidance states that businesses might want to make arrangements for observing the national one-minute silence at 3pm on the day of Philip’s funeral.

Will sporting events be cancelled during the period of national mourning?

This is something which is at the discretion of organisers, the guidance states.

The Cabinet Office suggest that organisers of sporting fixtures might want to consider using black armbands and observing a silence before matches are played.

Some sporting bodies are in discussions regarding plans for Saturday’s fixtures to avoid a clash with the funeral.

The Football League has announced that matches scheduled to begin at 3pm will be rearranged, as will Premiership rugby fixtures.

The Football Association, Premier League and the England and Wales Cricket Board are all in dialogue with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport regarding arrangements while the Women’s Six Nations is awaiting guidance, the PA news agency understands.

The British Horseracing Authority is considering its plans.

Have the Covid press conferences been scrapped?


The prime minister announced that the government will not be holding any coronavirus press conferences through the period of national mourning.

The Prime Minister and Keir Starmer have also agreed to pause campaigning for the upcoming local elections.

Boris Johnson will lead tributes to Prince Philip in the House of Commons on Monday (12 April), with MPs recalled a day early from the Easter recess to honour the Duke of Edinburgh’s life and service.

The royals will observe two weeks of what is known as royal mourning, starting from Friday (9 April) when Prince Philip died. Engagements will continue appropriate to the circumstances, a senior royal official said.

Can I lay flowers in tribute to Philip?

The cabinet office advice states that people should not lay flowers, candles or messages in public spaces or at royal residences, due to coronavirus restrictions limiting gatherings.

The royal family have presented alternative options for people wishing to express condolences.

People can donate to a charitable organisation with which the duke was associated - a list is on the Royal Family's website.

There is also an online book of condolence which is available to sign on the Royal Family’s website.

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