Queen Elizabeth was born in 1926 to the Duke and Duchess of York. When Edward VIII abdicated in 1936, Elizabeth’s father became King George VI and she became the heir to the throne. She married Prince Philip in 1947, and the two produced four children. Her accession to the throne occurred in 1952 after King George VI succumbed to illness. It is now 65 years later and Queen Elizabeth is still on the throne. She is the world’s oldest reigning monarch, the longest reigning monarch in British history and the longest reigning female head of state in history. She is undoubtedly one of the most popular monarchs in the history of the world. She is definitely more well liked than Henry VIII was.
She is 91-years-old and her health has been a bit of an issue in recent years. Nobody lives forever and, unfortunately, the day will come when the world will bid her a fond farewell. When that sad day comes to pass, Prince Charles will become king assuming he doesn’t abdicate and give the realm to Prince William. It sounds pretty straightforward but the death of a Queen, especially one as beloved as Queen Elizabeth, has far reaching effects and there is a lot that needs to be done. Here are 15 things that’d happen if the Queen died now.
15. Spreading the Word
The news of the Queen’s death will obviously need to get out and there is a specific plan in place to inform the world of her passing. The Queen’s private secretary, Sir Christopher Geidt, is the guy to start the ball rolling. First, he will inform the Prime Minister. The information will then be delivered to the heads of state of all 15 countries where the Queen is the official head of state. The news will then be relayed to the remaining Commonwealth nations. Her death will not be confirmed by Buckingham Palace until there is an actual notice on the Palace gates and they have issued a press release. Newspapers and broadcasters have pre-written obituaries standing by and they will be printed in papers and read on the air with all other news being put aside. The code name for the Queen’s death is “Operation London Bridge”.
14. Full Coverage
After being notified that ”London Bridge is Down”, the Union Jacks will be lowered to half-mast while the Houses of Parliament are recalled. Television broadcasters will need to wear black suits and black ties and they will dedicate full news coverage to the event as all regular programming will be taken off the air. News flashes will simultaneously be shown around the world and the media outlets will scramble to put up announcements on their web pages. As you might expect, most television stations already have film footage on deck and several newspapers have different storylines prepared to go straight to print. In theory, all of this should go smoothly as many news organizations have actually rehearsed this scenario. Even the British radio stations have “obit lights” that will flash and signal DJs to play inoffensive music as they switch programming to the news.
13. Prince Charles Will Choose His Name
The day after the Queen is officially pronounced dead, Prince Charles will be proclaimed as the King. Interestingly enough, Prince Charles isn’t necessarily going to be known as King Charles. He can actually choose his own name although he is expected to retain his current name, Charles III. There was a time that he was thought to have considered going by the name George because he admired some of the other King Georges that have worn the crown throughout history, and the two previous kings that went by the name Charles have negative connotations. Who knows? Maybe he’ll decide to go with something of a less traditional title like DJ Jazzy Chuck, King Funk, or a sign like The Artist Formerly Known as Prince had. No matter what name he chooses, he will be King.
12. Get Her Body to Buckingham Palace
No matter how, when, or where the Queen dies, there is a specific plan for her body. The goal is to get her back to Buckingham Palace’s throne room. It won’t be that complicated if she passes at Buckingham Palace. If she happens to pass while she is overseas, an Air Force jet will depart Northolt to collect her. Of course, the jet will contain a special coffin for her to be placed in for the return flight. Should she draw her last breath at her residence in Scotland there would be a ceremonial procession that would see her body taken along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile before it’s placed on a train to London. Mourners would line the tracks and shower them with flowers. In any case, her body would end up at Buckingham Palace.
11. Before the Funeral
There will be a period of about 10 days between the time the Queen dies and her extravagant state funeral. With her body at Buckingham Palace, family members will mourn beside her while various agencies and departments put funeral plans into action. After a few days, her body will be transported to Westminster Hall where it will lie in state and the public will be able to visit to pay their last respects. Over 200,000 people visited Westminster Hall when the Queen Mother died in 2002. Foreign dignitaries will fly to London before the tenth day when the Queen’s body will be transported through crowds of people to Westminster Abbey for a state funeral. News agencies all over the world will be covering the Queen’s last ceremonial procession to the abbey.
10. The Funeral
Everything is carefully planned already. On the day of the Queen’s funeral, everyday life in Great Britain will pretty much grind to a halt. All sporting events and concerts within the country will be postponed. Schools and stores will close, the stock market will cease trading, and football stadiums will be broadcasting the ceremony on giant screens. It will be a media storm. Nearly all people that aren’t involved in the proceedings will have the day off. There will be a moment of silence across the country at 11 am on the nose and the funeral service from Westminster Abbey will commence amid full media coverage. Following the ceremony, the Queen’s coffin will start a 23-mile funeral procession from Hyde Park to Windsor Castle, which will likely be her final resting place.
9. Ceremony for the New King
As already mentioned, Prince Charles will ascend the throne the day after the Queen’s death. Naturally, there is a lot of ceremonial pomp that surrounds such an occasion and it is all planned out well ahead of time. It won’t be anything like the impromptu swearing in that we saw when aboard Air Force One when Lyndon Johnson became President of the United States following Kennedy’s assassination. Officials will wear 3.5-inch armbands and convene at St. James’ Palace where Charles will be sworn in as the new king. There will be three blasts from trumpeters and the traditional proclamation will be read. After everyone stands through the national anthem, a 41-gun salute will echo through Hyde Park and Great Britain will officially have their new monarch. King Charles will then promptly head to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland for a four-day tour to greet his subjects.
8. No Comedy
The British love their comedy. Be it on radio, television, or in any of the countless comedy clubs throughout Great Britain; they love to laugh and tell jokes. The death of the Queen will be a dark time for those who enjoy hilarity as they will not be able to listen to comedy shows on the radio or watch it on television. There will be no comedy allowed for a while after the Queen’s passing. During the 10-day mourning period and up to the end of her funeral, all comedy in Great Britain will be cancelled. That’s a pretty long time to go without watching Benny Hill and Monty Python reruns. We’re not sure what the penalties are for breaking this rule but they are probably nothing to laugh at.
7. Currencies will be Altered
There are quite a few currencies throughout the world that bear the Queen’s image on them. Aside from Great Britain, many other nations like Australia, Isle of Man, and Canada have the Queen’s face on their currencies. In fact, there are over 35 countries that have her on their currency. From paper money to coins, these monies will need to be replaced with cash that will presumably have King Charles’ mug on them. This will be a gargantuan undertaking for several governments around the world but they won’t do it right away. It will be a gradual change. The same thing goes for stamps. The Queen’s image will be replaced on most stamps although she might remain on a few. It’s hard to imagine how many portraits of the Queen that hang in various offices will need to be swapped out too.
6. Australia Could Become a Republic
With Australia being a constitutional monarchy, Queen Elizabeth is still technically the head of state although the country has its own government which is more or less free do as it wishes. For over 100 years there have been several movements in Australia that have been calling for the nation to become a republic. In 2010, former Prime Minister Julia Gillard stated that Australia should become a republic only after Queen Elizabeth’s reign is over. Current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, is also a supporter of an Australian republic and echoed Gillard’s sentiments. The idea of Australia becoming a republic has gained a lot of momentum in recent years and is currently a popular idea with politicians of all stripes. It will be interesting to see if these plans will actually play out.
5. Two National Holidays
The death of Queen Elizabeth will bring about a few changes in Great Britain’s work schedule. Firstly, when the coronation of Prince Charles occurs there will be a national holiday. A second national holiday will take place on the day of the Queen’s funeral, although it will be referred to as a day of mourning. Other Commonwealth nations will likely follow suit at least for the funeral. This sounds like a pretty good deal for the working man but the costs to the nation will be staggering. We’re not just talking about the cost of the funeral service itself. The British economy can expect to take a hit ranging from £1.2 billion up to £6 billion for each day off as everything from stores and government offices to the stock exchange and banks would be closed.
4. A Spike in Suicides
One of the 15 things that would happen if the Queen died now is that there would likely be a rise in suicides in Great Britain. The University of Oxford Centre for Suicide Research did a study in which they discovered that the number of suicides in England and Wales spiked 17% following the death of Princess Diana in 1997. Women seemed to take the news of Diana’s passing a little harder as the suicide rate among women aged between 25 and 44 rose a whopping 45% in the month following the 36-year-old princess’ tragic death. Researchers believe there was a factor in which these people identified with Diana. Most people in Britain have only known one Queen and news of her death will surely be quite devastating to many of them.
3. A Lot of Preparation
Right after the Queen’s passing has been announced, government officials will meet at the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport to prepare for the upcoming ceremonies such as the coronation of the new King, the funeral procession, and the Queen’s funeral itself. Police, transportation, and special security teams are among some of the groups that will need to be quickly organized. The armed forces will be a major participant too. Somebody will also have to print up around 10,000 tickets for the guests that will be attending these ceremonies and receptions. It would be an impossible task to perform if it wasn’t so well-planned for far in advance. All of these agencies have done the drills and practiced the plays. It will be a matter of executing the plan with precision.
2. New Titles
People will have to get used to a few familiar faces having different names. We already mentioned the possibility of Prince Charles having the power to change his name. Prince William, who has the title of Duke of Cambridge, would become the Prince of Wales on top of being the next in line to the throne. His wife Catherine, would go from being the Duchess of Cambridge to being the Princess of Wales although there is speculation that she would not take on that title out of respect to the late Princess Diana. William’s younger brother, Prince Harry of Wales, will be known as His Royal Highness the Prince Harry. It is uncertain at this time whether or not Princess Camilla would take on the title of Queen or Princess Consort.
1. Things will get Back to Normal
There is definitely going to be a fair amount of chaos when Queen Elizabeth dies. She is currently one of the longest-reigning monarchs in history having been on the throne for 65 years. To many, she is the only monarch they have lived under. The nation and millions of others around the world will mourn. There is sure to be a media feeding frenzy, loads of sappy side stories, and the streets of London will be rife with tight security that will monitor the massive crowds. A new king will be crowned, new money printed, and comedy will return to the airwaves. The news coverage will end and we will once again be hearing about the likes of Justin Bieber and the Kardashians. It will be time to return to work and carry on with our lives. Long live the Queen!!
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