Are flags at half mast today? Will Union Flag fly after Queen’s death - how long are flags flown at half-mast

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The mourning period for The Queen, also known as Operation London Bridge is expected to last 10 days

The UK has been plunged into a period of national mourning after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Britain’s longest reigning monarch passed away peacefully in Balmoral surrounded by family.

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The 96-year-old celebrated her Platinum Jubilee in June, but her health had deteriorated in recent months.

The mourning period for the Queen, also known as Operation London Bridge is expected to last 10 days.

Flags will be flown at half-mast, but what is the meaning behind the tradition? Here’s everything you need to know.

The Union flag flies at half-mast over Buckingham Palace following the death of the QueenThe Union flag flies at half-mast over Buckingham Palace following the death of the Queen
The Union flag flies at half-mast over Buckingham Palace following the death of the Queen | AFP via Getty Images

Are flags at half-mast today?

After the death of Queen Elizabeth II, all official flags, including the Union Flag will be flown at half-mast.

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Official flags include national flags of home nations, Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories.

Non-official flags which are scheduled to be flown will be replaced with a Union Flag at half-mast.

Contrary to the name, half-mast is not halfway down the flagpole.

Flags are flown a third down from the top, with at least the height of the flag in between.

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If a flagpole measures more than 45° from the vertical, flags should not be flown as they cannot be flown at half-mast.

It’s also important to fly the Union Flag the right way up, with the wider diagonal white stripe above the red diagonal stripe.

The Union Flag flies at half-mast from Victoria Tower at the Houses of Parliament (Pic: AFP via Getty Images)The Union Flag flies at half-mast from Victoria Tower at the Houses of Parliament (Pic: AFP via Getty Images)
The Union Flag flies at half-mast from Victoria Tower at the Houses of Parliament (Pic: AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Why are flags flown at half-mast?

Flags are flown at half-mast as a symbol of mourning and respect.

The practise first began in the 17th century and has been used in recent times to pay tribute to deaths in the Royal Family and times of national mourning, such as the death of a prime minister or a terrorist attack.

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The Royal Standard, which is the flag of the monarch, is never flown at half-mast.

This is because there is always a living monarch as following their death, their title passes over to the next in line for the throne.

After Queen Elizabeth II passed away, her son immediately became King Charles III.

Other countries have also lowered their flags as a mark of respect to the Queen.

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In America the flag at the White House was flown at half-mast, however in the US, they use the term half-staff.

A man lowers the White House US flag to half-mast following the death of Queen Elizabeth II (Pic: AFP via Getty Images)A man lowers the White House US flag to half-mast following the death of Queen Elizabeth II (Pic: AFP via Getty Images)
A man lowers the White House US flag to half-mast following the death of Queen Elizabeth II (Pic: AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Will the Union Flag be flown after The Queen’s death?

The Union Flag is permitted to be flown, but only if it is at half-mast.

The UK government has issued instructions on how flags must be flown, with guidance passed from King Charles III.

How long will flags be flown at half-mast for?

Flags are required to remain at half-mast until 8.00am the day after the Queen’s funeral.

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The Government has issued guidance on the period of national mourning, describing it as “a period of time for reflection in response to the demise of the Sovereign”.

The information covers everything from flags flying at half-mast, where to leave floral tributes, books of condolence, the impact on public services, and whether events will be cancelled as a mark of respect.

Following the death of The Queen, the UK has entered a 10-day period of national mourning.

In the days to come, under a plan known as Operation London Bridge, the public will be able to pay their respects to the Queen as she lies in state.

The final day of mourning will be Her Majesty’s funeral, which will be held at Westminster Abbey.

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