What happens when the queen dies? Protocol after death of Queen Elizabeth and other royals explained

Queen Elizabeth II’s husband Prince Philip has passed away at the age of 99

Buckingham Palace has confirmed today that the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, has died aged 99 – just two months before turning 100.

The Duke and the Queen were married for more than 70 years and Philip dedicated decades of his life to royal duty, serving the nation at the monarch’s side.

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He officially retired from public engagements in the summer of 2017 and was the longest-serving consort in British history.

The Queen will now enter an eight day period of mourning ahead of her husband’s funeral.

But what will happen when the monarch dies? Here’s what we know.

What happens when the queen dies?

As we all know, when the monarch dies the crown is passed down to the next in line to the throne.

The Queen and Prince Philip pictured waving to guests at a street party outside Buckingham Palace in 2016, as part of Queen Elizabeth II's official 90th birthday celebrations (Getty).

In this instance, it will be Prince Charles who will take up his long-awaited position as king and will have a great say in some of his mother’s funeral plans.

For many, it’s unthinkable what might happen when the country’s longest reigning monarch dies but plans have been drawn up already.

Civil servants will be aware of the secretive code name, "Operation London Bridge”, as reported by The Guardian.

Aside from the queen’s immediate family, her private secretary, Sir Christopher Geidt, will be one of the first people to hear about her passing and will contact the prime minister.

The entrance of Diana, Princess of Wales' residence at Kensington Palace, was carpeted with floral tributes, messages, photos and personal momentos in 1997 days after she died. (Photo Getty Images)

The PM, at the time, will then hear ‘London Bridge is down’ on a secure telephone line – to keep the message strictly confidential – and then Commonwealth countries and countries where she is Head of State will be informed.

The announcement of the death of a royal family member is given via a notice pinned to the gates at Buckingham Palace and in the form of a newsflash sent to the world’s media.

Her Majestie’s passing may also mean that many workers across the country will be sent home from work early to take the rest of the day off as part of national mourning.

Do other royal family members have secret code names?

Royal family members are each assigned the name of a bridge to be used as a code word in the event of their death.

Prince Philip’s bridge is “Forth Bridge”, with a corresponding “Operation Forth Bridge” plan of action for the event of his death.

Funeral plans for Princess Diana and the Queen Mother both shared the code name “Operation Tay Bridge.”

The royal family, meanwhile, are required to take black clothes and three-and-a-quarter inches armbands with them whenever they travel, to be worn in the event of a royal death.

What might happen on the day of the queen’s funeral?

Before her burial the Queen’s body will ‘lie in state’ in Westminster Hall, open for 23 hours a day until the funeral.

Big Ben is set to strike at 9am on the day, with church services and memorials expected to be held around the country the night before.

At 11am the coffin will arrive at the doors of Westminster Abbey, where the service will take place, and the nation will fall silent with the world’s media broadcasting the service around the globe.

On the day of Her Majesty’s funeral, it is expected that shops will shut, or work at reduced opening hours, the stock market will pause and a day off will be in store for most of the nation.

It is also likely that the service will be held 12 days after the queen’s death.

Just days after Princess Diana passed away, Kensington Palace was carpeted with hundreds of bouquets of flowers after the nation mourned her passing.

It is immeasurable how many personal momentos and tributes will be placed at Buckingham Palace and all around the country when Her Majesty dies.

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