The long read: She is adored around the world. She has outlived 12 US presidents. She stands for stability and guild. But her dominion is in turmoil, and her themes are in denial that her predominate is to be able to resolve. Thats why the palace has a plan.

In the plans that exist for the deaths among the Queen and there are many forms, held by Buckingham Palace, the government and the BBC most is considered that she will die after a short illness. Her family and doctors will be there. When the Queen Mother passed away on the afternoon of Easter Saturday, in 2002, at the Royal Lodge in Windsor, she had time to telephone sidekicks to say goodbye, and to give away some of her horses. In these last hours, the Queens elderly doctor, a gastroenterologist mentioned Professor Huw Thomas, will be in charge. He will look after his patient, restraint access to her room and hold what information should be made public. The bond between sovereign and topics is a strange and predominantly unknowable thought. A nations life becomes a persons, and then the string must break.

There will be reports from the palace not many, but enough. The Queen is suffering from great physical prostration, is complemented by indications which induce much feeling, announced Sir James Reid, Queen Victorias physician, two days before her death in 1901. The Kings life is moving quietly towards its close, was the final notice issued by George Vs doctor, Lord Dawson, at 9.30 pm during the night of 20 January 1936. Not long afterwards, Dawson injected the emperor with 750 mg of morphine and a gram of cocaine enough to kill him twice over in order to ease the ruler suffering, and to have him expire in time for the printing press of the Times, which rolled at midnight.

Her seeings will be closed and Charles will be king. His siblings will kiss his hands. The first official be addressed with the word is likely to be Sir Christopher Geidt, the Queens private secretary, a former official who was given a second knighthood in 2014, in part for scheming her succession.

Geidt will contact the prime minister. The last-place time a British ruler succumbed, 65 years ago, the downfall of George VI was conveyed in a code text, Hyde Park Corner, to Buckingham Palace, to prevent switchboard hustlers from finding out. For Elizabeth II, the plan for what happens next is known as London Bridge. The “ministers ” will be awake, if she is not already awake, and civil servants will say London Bridge is down on lock strands. From the Foreign office Global Response Centre, at an undisclosed orientation in the capital city, the bulletin will go out to the 15 authorities outside the UK where the Queen is also the head of state, and the 36 other nations of the Commonwealth for whom she has sufficed as a symbolic figurehead a appearance familiar in dreams and the untidy gleans of a billion schoolchildren since the dawning of the atomic age.

For a era, she will be gone without our to hear about it. The info will walk like the compressional brandish ahead of an shake, detectable simply by special gear. Governors general, representatives and prime ministers will memorize firstly. Cupboards will be opened in search of pitch-black armbands, three-and-a-quarter inches wide-eyed, to be worn on the left arm.

The rest of us will find out more quickly than before. On 6 February 1952, George VI was found by his valet at Sandringham at 7.30 am. The BBC did not broadcast the report until 11.15 am, nearly four hours later. When Princess Diana expired at 4am neighbourhood era at the Piti-Salptrire hospital in Paris on 31 August 1997, journalists accompanying the former foreign ministers, Robin Cook, on a call to the Philippines knew within 15 instants. For many years the BBC was told about royal extinctions first, but its monopoly on broadcasting to the territory has gone now. When the Queen dies, the notice will go out as a newsflash to the Press Association and the countries of the world media simultaneously. At the same jiffy, a footman in mourning invests will emerge from a door at Buckingham Palace, cross the dull pink gravel and pin a black-edged discover to the gates. While he does this, the palace website will be transformed into a sombre, single sheet, depicting the same verse on a dark background.

Screens will brighten. There will be tweets. At the BBC, the radio alarm transmission system( Rats ), will be activated a cold war-era horrify designed to withstand an attack on the nations infrastructure. Rats, “whos also” sometimes referred to under as royal is fully prepared to snuff it, is a near mythical part of the intricate architecture of ritual and rehearsals for the death of major royal identities that the BBC has maintained since the 1930 s. Most personnel have just been ever seen it work in research; many have never seen it work at all. Whenever there is a strange noise in the newsroom, person always asks, Is that the Rats? Because we dont know what it is just like, one regional reporter told me.

All news organisations will scramble to get cinemas on breeze and obituaries online. At the Guardian, the agent writer has a directory of prepared tales pinned to his wall. The Times is said to have 11 epoches of coverage ready to go. At Sky News and ITN, which for years practised the death of the Queen substituting the figure Mrs Robinson, calls will go out to royal experts who have already signed contracts to express alone on those paths. I am going to be sitting outside the doors of the Abbey on a hugely extended trestle table commentating to 300 million Americans about this, one told me.

For people stuck in commerce, or with Heart FM on in the background, there will only be the subtlest of indications, at first, that something is going on.Britains commercial radio stations have a system of blue obit ignites, which is tested once a week and supposed to do now light up in cases where there a national devastation. When the news breaches, these flares will start twinkling, to notify DJs to switch to the word in the next few minutes and to play inoffensive music in the meantime. Every terminal, down to infirmary radio, has prepared music schedules made up of Mood 2( pathetic) or Mood 1( saddest) songs to reaching for in times of abrupt lament. If you ever hear Recurred Dancehall( Nursery Remix) by Sabres of Paradise on daytime Radio 1, turn the TV on, wrote Chris Price, a BBC radio producer, for the Huffington Post in 2011. Something appalling has just happened.

Having programs in place for the death of preceding royals is a practice that establishes some writers awkward. There is one story which is deemed to be so much more important than others, one former Today programme producer complained to me. For 30 times, BBC news crews were hauled to work on quiet Sunday mornings to play mock storylines about the Queen mother suffocate on a fishbone. There was formerly a scenario about Princess Diana succumbing in a auto clang on the M4.

These well-laid proposes have not always helped. In 2002, when the Queen Mother died, the obit sunlights didnt go up because person failed to push the button down properly. On the BBC, Peter Sissons, the ex-serviceman fix, was criticized by wearing a brownish-red knot. Sissons was the main victims of a BBC policy change, issued after the September 11 criticizes, to moderate the insurance coverage and reduce the number of category one royals eligible for the full obituary procedure. The last words in Sissonss ear before going on breeze were: Dont go overboard. Shes a very old woman who had to go some time.

But there will be no extemporising with the Queen. The newsreaders will wear black suits and black ties. Category one was cleared for her. Programme will stop. Systems will coalesce. BBC 1, 2 and 4 will be interrupted and revert quietly to their respective idents an exercise class in a village auditorium, a swan waiting on a pond before coming together for the bulletin. Listeners to Radio 4 and Radio 5 live will hear a particular formulation of words, This is the BBC from London, which, intentionally or not, will summon a feel of national emergency.

The main reason for rehearsals is to have words that are roughly approximate to the moment. It is with the greatest regret that we realize the following proclamation, said John Snagge, the BBC presenter who acquainted the world of the death of George VI.( The word was recurred seven days, every 15 instants, and then the BBC get silent for five hours ). Harmonizing to one former head of BBC news, a very similar placed of words will be used for the Queen. The rehearsals for her are different to the other members of the family, he clarified. People become upset, and entertain the unthinkable oddness of her absence. She is the only monarch that most of us have ever known, he said. The imperial touchstone will appear on the screen. The national anthem will play. You will remember where you were.


When parties think of a contemporary royal extinction in Britain, they imagine, inescapably, of Diana. The pas of the Queen will be stupendous by comparison. It may not be as nakedly emotional, but its contact will be wider, and its consequences more dramatic. It will be quite fundamental, as one former courtier told me.

Part of the effect will come from the overwhelming heavines of things happening. The procedure for modern imperial burials is more or less familiar( Dianas was based on Tay Bridge, the plan for the Queen mother ). But the deaths among a British ruler, and the accession negotiations of a brand-new head of state, is a ritual that is passing out of living storage: three of the Queens last-place four prime ministers were born after she came to the throne. When she croaks, both houses of parliament will be recalled, people will go home from run early, and helicopters captains will announce the word to their fares. In the nine epoches that follow( in London Bridge intend documents, these are known as D-day, D +1 and so on) “theres been” ritual decrees, a four-nation tour by the brand-new ruler, bowdlerised television programming, and a diplomatic gather in London not witnessed since the death of Winston Churchill in 1965.

More overwhelming than any of this, though, there will be an almighty psychological calculate for the dominion that she leaves behind. The Queen is Britains last-place living link with our former greatness the nations id, its problematic self-regard which is still defined by our victory in the second largest world war. One extending historian, who like most people I interviewed for this article declined to be called, should be pointed out that the parting for this countrys longest-serving monarch will be magnificent. Oh, she will get everything, he said. We were all told that the funeral of Churchill was the requiem for Britain as a great power. But actually it has certainly be over when she goes.

Unlike the US presidency, say, monarchies countenance immense pieces of meter a century, in some cases to become entwined with private individuals. The second Elizabethan age is likely to be remembered as a reign of uninterrupted national deterioration, and even, if she lives long enough and Scotland departs the union, as one of deterioration. Life and politics at the end of her govern is likely to be unrecognisable from their majesty and innocence at its beginning. We dont accuse her for it, Philip Ziegler, the historian and royal biographer, was just telling me. We have slumped with her, so to speak.

The obituary movies will remind us what a two countries she acquired. One patch of footage will be played time and time again: from her 21 st birthday, in 1947, when Princess Elizabeth was on holiday with her mothers in Cape Town. She was 6,000 miles from home and comfortably within the sallow of the British Empire. The princess sits at a table with a microphone. The darknes of a tree plays on her shoulder. The camera accommodates three or four times as she talks, and on every occasion, she twitches momentarily, deluding tiny flashings of noble sorenes. I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service, and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong, she says, enunciating vowels and a perception of the world that have both vanished.

It is not uncommon for a country to succumb to a position of denial as a long section in its history is about to end. When “its become” public that Queen Victoria was dying, at the age of 82, a widow for half her life, stunned sorrow swept the country, wrote her biographer, Lytton Strachey. In the minds of her topics, the queens fatality had now become unimaginable; and with her downfall, everything was abruptly at risk, placed in the handwritings of an elderly and untrusted heir, Edward VII. The wild waters are upon us now, wrote the American Henry James, who had endeavoured to London 30 years before.

The parallels with the unease that we will seem at the death of Elizabeth II are obvious, but without the consolation of Britains status in 1901 as the worlds most successful country. We have to have narratives for royal events, the historian told me. In the Victorian predominate, everything went better and better, and big and bigger. We certainly cant was well known that narrative today.

The result is a huge objection to even “ve been thinking about” let alone talking or writing about what happens when the Queen dies. We avoid the subject as we eschew it in our own families. It seems like good manners, but it is also fear. The reporting for this article committed dozens of interviews with broadcasters, government officials, and varied palace personnel, various of whom have worked on London Bridge immediately. Almost all insisted on complete privacy. This meeting never happened, I was told after one conversation in a gentlemen club on Pall Mall. Buckingham Palace, meanwhile, has a policy of not provide comments on funeral arrangements for members of the royal family.

And hitherto this taboo, like much to do with the empire, is not entirely rational, and disguises a parallel world. The next enormous rupture in Britains national life has, in fact, been planned to the time. It involves matters of major public important, will be paid for by us, and is clearly going to happen. Harmonizing to the Office of National Statistics, a British lady who reaches the age of 91 as the Queen will in April has an average life expectancy of four years and 3 month. The Queen is approaching the end of her predominate at a time of maximum disquiet about Britains place in the world, at a few moments when internal political strains are close to breaking her field apart. Her extinction will also release its own destabilising powers: in the accession negotiations of Queen Camilla; in the optics of a new ruler who is already an old boy; and in the future of the Commonwealth, the claimed invention largely of her fabrication.( The Queens title of Head of the Commonwealth is not hereditary .) Australias prime minister and captain of the opposition parties both miss the country to become a republic.

Coping with the lane these events fall is the next great challenge of the House of Windsor, the last European royal family to perform coronations and to persevere with the collusion of a eager populace in the supernatural of the whole endeavour. That is why the planning for the Queens death and its ceremonial aftermath is so extensive. Succession is part of the job. It provides an opportunity for ordering to be affirmed. Queen Victoria had written down the substance of her coffin by 1875. The Queen Mothers burial was practised for 22 times. Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, trained a wintertime and a summertime menu for his funeral lunch. London Bridge is the Queens departure schedule. Its biography, as one of her courtiers said. It will be 10 days of weep and sight in which, instead like the fascinating mirror of the monarchy itself, we will revel in who we were and avoid the question of what we have become.


The idea is for nothing to be unexpected. If the Queen dies abroad, a BAe 146 airplane from the RAFs No 32 squadron, known as the Royal Flight, will take off from Northolt, at the western fringe of London, with a coffin on board. The imperial morticians, Leverton& Sons, prevent what they call a first call coffin ready in case of imperial emergencies. Both George V and George VI were buried in oak grown on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk. If the Queen expires there, their own bodies will come to London by auto after a day or two.

The most elaborated strategies are for what happens if she passes away at Balmoral, where she invests three months of the year. This will trigger an initial ripple of Scottish communion. First, the Queens body will lie at rest in her smallest palace, at Holyroodhouse, in Edinburgh, where she is traditionally patrolled by the Royal Company of Archers, who wear eagle plumages in their bonnets. Then the coffin will be carried up the Royal Mile to St Giless cathedral, for a service of reception, before being put on board the Royal Train at Waverley station for a sad progress down the east coast mainline. Crowds are expected at level crossings and on depot pulpits the length of the two countries from Musselburgh and Thirsk in the north, to Peterborough and Hatfield in the south to hurl buds on the lead teach.( Another locomotive will follow behind, to clear debris from the lines .) Its actually very complicated, one transport official told me.

The
The funeral procession of the late King George VI in 1952. Picture: Popperfoto

In every scenario, the Queens body returns to the throne area in Buckingham Palace, which overlooks the north-west reces of the Quadrangle, its interior courtyard. There will be an altar, the chill, the royal standard, and four Grenadier Guards, their bearskin hats inclined, their rifles pointing to the flooring, accepting watch. In the corridors, personnel employed by the Queen for more than 50 times will pass, following procedures they know by heart. Your professionalism takes over because there is a job to be done, said one veteran of imperial funerals. There is likely to be no time for sadness, or are concerned about what happens next. Charles will bring in many of his own staff where reference is accedes. Bear in recollection, the courtier said, everybody who works in the palace is actually on acquired time.

Outside, word gangs will assemble on pre-agreed sites next to Canada Gate, at the bottom of Green Park .( Special fibre-optic cable operates under the Mall, for broadcasting British country moments .) I have got in front of me an instruction book got a couple of inches thick, said one TV head, who will include the ceremonies, when we spoke on the phone. Everything in there is planned. Everyone knows what to do. Across the country, pennant will come down and buzzers will toll. In 1952, Great Tom was rung at St Pauls every minute for two hours when the information was announced. The bells at Westminster Abbey sounded and the Sebastopol bell, taken from the Black Sea city during the course of its Crimean war and reverberates exclusively on the party of a sovereigns death, was fee 56 times at Windsor once for each year of George VIs life from 1.27 pm until 2.22 pm.

The 18 th Duke of Norfolk, the Earl Marshal, charged with the responsibility. Norfolks have overseen royal funerals since 1672. During the 20 th century, a established of offices in St Jamess Palace was always earmarked for their implement. On the morning of George VIs extinction, in 1952, this organization is being renewed. By five oclock in the afternoon, the scaffolding was down and the areas were re-carpeted, furnished and furnished with phones, lightings and heating. During London Bridge, the Lord Chamberlains office in the palace is likely to be the centre of operations. The current form of the plan is mainly the work of Lieutenant-Colonel Anthony Mather, a former equerry who retired from the palace in 2014. As a 23 -year-old guardsman in 1965, Mather guided the pallbearers at Churchills funeral.( He declined to speak with me .) The authorities team arranging the police, security, transport and armed forces will make at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Person will have the tasks of print around 10,000 tickets for invited clients, the first of which will be required for the proclamation of King Charles in about 24 hours time.


Everyoneon the conference calls and around the table is common knowledge one another. For a narrow stratum of the British aristocracy and civil service, the artwork of planning major burials the earnestnes, the excessive item can express a certain national proficiency. Thirty-one people gathered for the first satisfy to propose Churchills funeral, Operation Hope Not, in June 1959, six years before his death. Those is currently working on London Bridge( and Tay Bridgeand Forth Bridge, the Duke of Edinburghs funeral) will have parallelled for years in different languages of bureaucratic euphemism, about a possible future ritual; a future difficulty; some inevitable reason, the timing of which, nonetheless, is quite uncertain.

The first plans for London Bridge date back to the 1960 s, before being refined in detail at the turn of the century. Since then, “theres been” meetings two or three times a year for the various actors concerned( around a dozen other departments, the police, infantry, broadcasters and the Royal Parks) in Church House, Westminster, the Palace, or elsewhere in Whitehall. Participates described them to me as deeply civil and methodical. Everyone around the world is looking to us to do this again perfectly, said one, and we will. Intentions are updated and old versions are destroyed. Arcane and highly specific knowledge is shared. It takes 28 minutes at a slow procession from the doors of St Jamess to the acces of Westminster Hall. The coffin must have a untrue eyelid, to hold the crown jewels, with a rim at least three inches high.

In theory, everything is settled. But in the hours after the Queen has become, there will be items that merely Charles can decide. Everything has to be signed off by the Duke of Norfolk and the King, one official told me. The Sovereign of Wales has waited longer to acquire the British throne than any heir, and the world will now swirl around him at a brand-new and uncrossable interval. For a bit while, wrote Edward VIII, of the days between his fathers fatality and funeral, I had the uneasy awarenes of being left alone on a immense stagecoach. In recent years, often of the work on London Bridge has focused on the exact choreography of Charless accession. There are really two things happening, as one of his advisers told me. There is the demise of a sovereign and then there is the stimulate of a tycoon. Charles were any plans to form his first address as head of state on the evening of his mothers death.

Switchboards the Palace, Downing Street, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport will be submerge with asks during the first 48 hours. It is such a long time since the death of a monarch that many national organisations wont know what to do. The official advice, as it was last season, will be that business should continue as usual. This wont necessarily happen. If the Queen succumbs during Royal Ascot, the convene will be scrapped. The Marylebone Cricket Club is said to hold insurance for a similar aftermath if she overtakes away during a home test competitor at Lords. After the deaths among George VI in 1952, rugby and hockey fixtures were announced off, while football matches exited ahead. Devotees sang Abide With Me and the national hymn before kick off. The National Theatre will close if the word break-dances before 4pm, and abide open if not. All recreations, including golf, will be banned in the Royal Parks.

In 2014, the National Association of Civic Officers circulated protocols for local authorities to follow in case of the death of a elderly national anatomy. It admonished stockpiling notebooks of condolence loose needle, so inappropriate letters can be removed to be placed in town halls, libraries and museums the day after the Queen dies. Mayors will mask their decorations( maces is likely to be shrouded with pitch-black pockets ). In state metropolitans, big screens will be erected so crowds be going along with incidents taking place in London, and flags of all possible descriptions, including beach flags( but not cherry-red danger pennants ), will be operated at half pole. The country must be seen to know what it is doing. The recently completed give of teaches to embassies in London went out just before Christmas. One of the most difficult headaches will be for the Foreign Office, dealing with all the dignitaries who descend from all corners of the earth. In Papua New Guinea, where the Queen is the head of state, she is known as Mama belong large-scale clas. European imperial pedigrees will be put up at the palace; the residue will stay at Claridges hotel.

Parliament will amass. If possible, both houses will sit within hours of the monarchs fatality. In 1952, the Commons convened for two minutes before noon. We cannot at this moment do more than record a spontaneous expression of our sorrow, said Churchill, who was “ministers “. The house met again in the night, when MPs began asserting the covenant of faithfulnes to the new monarch. Letters rained in on the part of parliament and presidents. The US House of Representatives adjourned. Ethiopia announced 2 week of mourning. In the House of Lords, the two thrones will be replaced by a single chair and a cushion bearing the golden summarize of a crown.

On D +1, the day after the Queens death, the flags will go back up, and at 11 am, Charles will be extol tycoon. The Accession Council, which gathers in the red-carpeted Entre Room of St Jamess Palace, long predates parliament. The session, of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of this Realm, derives from the Witan, the Anglo-Saxon feudal assembly of more than a thousand years ago. In conjecture, all 670 current members of the Privy council, from Jeremy Corbyn to Ezekiel Alebua, the former prime minister of the Solomon Islands, are invited but there is cavity for only 150 or so. In 1952, the Queen was one of two women present at her proclamation.

The clerk, a senior civil servant appointed Richard Tilbrook, will read out the formal word, Whereas it has satisfied Almighty God to call to His Mercy our late Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth the Second of Sanctified and Glorious memory and Charles will carry out the first official duties of his reign, blaspheming to shield the Church in Scotland, and speaking of the heavy onu that is now his.

At dawn, the center window overlooking Friary Court, on the palaces eastern front, will have been removed and the ceiling outside contained within red-faced experience. After Charles talk about this, trumpeters from the Life Guards, wearing red plumes on their helmets, will step outside, hold three detonations and the Garter King of Arms, a genealogist mentioned Thomas Woodcock, will stand on the balcony and begin the ritual proclamations of King Charles III. I will reach the first one, said Woodcock, whose official salary of 49. 07 has not been raised since the 1830 s. In 1952, four newsreel cameras registered the moment. This time there will be an gathering of billions. Beings will look for auguries in the condition, in fowls operating overhead for Charless reign. At Elizabeths accession, everyone was convinced that the new queen was extremely pacify. The party of the Coldstream Guards will play “the member states national” carol on drums the hell is wrapped in black cloth.

The proclamations will only just be getting started. From St Jamess, the Garter King of Armsand half a dozen other heralds, looks a lot like extras from an expensive Shakespeare production, will go by posture to the bronze of Charles I, at the base of Trafalgar Square, which marks Londons official midpoint, and read out the bulletin again. A 41 -gun salute nearly seven hours of artillery will be fired from Hyde Park. There is no concession to modernity in this, one former palace agent was just telling me. There is likely to be cocked hats and ponies everywhere. One of its deep concern of the broadcasters is what the crowds will look like as they seek to record these moments of record. The entire world “re gonna be all” bloody doing this, said one bulletin administration, holding up his phone in front of his face.

On the old-time borderline of the City of London, outside the Royal Courtrooms of Justice, a crimson rope will hang across the road. The City Marshal, a former police detective chief superintendent named Philip Jordan, will be waiting on a mare. The presages will be formally admitted to the City, and there will be more trumpets and more notices: at the Royal Exchange, and then in a chain reaction across the country. Sixty-five years ago, there used to be crowds of 10, 000 in Birmingham; 5,000 in Manchester; 15,000 in Edinburgh. High Sheriffs stood on the phases of town halls, and announced the brand-new monarch is in accordance with neighbourhood tradition. In York, the Mayor caused a toast to the Queen from a beaker made of solid gold.

The same rituals will take place, but this time all over the brand-new king will likewise go out to meet his people. From his proclamation at St Jamess, Charles will immediately tour the two countries, calling Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff to attend services of memorial for his mother and to meet the leaders of the devolved authorities. There will also be civic receipts, for teachers, doctors and other ordinary tribe, which are intended to reflect the altered feeling of his predominate. From day one, it is about the people rather than precisely the leaders being part of this new empire, said one of his advisers, who described the plans for Charless progress as: Spates of not being in a vehicle, but actually walking around. In the capital, the pomp of imperial death and accession will be archaic and bewildering. But from another metropolitan every day, “theres been” epitomes of the new tycoon mourning alongside his subjects, assuming his almighty, lonely persona in the public resource. It is see and be seen, the adviser said.


For a long time, the artwork of royal sight was for other, weaker families: Italians, Russians, and Habsburgs. British ritual parties were a mess. At the burial of Princess Charlotte, in 1817, the undertakers were drunk. Ten year later, St Georges Chapel was so cold during the burying of the Duke of York that George Canning, the foreign ministers, contracted rheumatic delirium and the bishop of London succumbed. We never find so motley, so insulting, so ill-managed a form of persons, reported the Times on the funeral of George IV, in 1830. Victorias coronation a few years later was nothing to write home about. The clergy got lost in the words; the talk was sickening; and the imperial jewellers prepared the coronation sound for the incorrect finger. Some nations have a knack for rite, the Marquess of Salisbury wrote in 1860. In England the case is exactly the reverse.

What we think of as the ancient communions of the autocracy were mainly crafted in the late 19 th century, toward the end of Victorias reign. Courtiers, politicians and constitutional theorists such as Walter Bagehot to be concerned about the dismal display of the Empress of India trooping around Windsor in her donkey go-cart. If the treetop was going to give up its executive powers, it would have to inspire love and awe by other means and theater was part of the answer. The more democratic we get, wrote Bagehot in 1867, the more we shall get at like commonwealth and show.

Obsessed by fatality, Victoria strategy her fucking funeral with some style. But it was her son, Edward VII, who is largely held liable for reviving royal display. One courtier praised his strange superpower of visualising a pageant. He returned the state opening of parliament and armed drills, like the Trooping of the Colour, into full fancy-dress moments, and at his own travel, resurrected the medieval rite of lying in commonwealth. Hundreds of thousands of subjects filed past his coffin in Westminster Hall in 1910, granting a new appreciation of intimacy to the body of the monarch. By 1932, George V was a national father figure, causing the first imperial Christmas speech to the society a tradition that persists today in a radio address written for him by Rudyard Kipling.

The shamblings and the remoteness of the 19 th-century monarchy were replaced by an idealised family and historic pomp invented in the 20 th. In 1909, Kaiser Wilhelm II boasted about a better quality of German martial processions: The English cannot come up to us in this sort of circumstance. Now we all know that nobody is quite does it like the British.

The Queen, by all reports a practical and unsentimental person, understands the theatrical strength of the crown. I have to be seen to be speculated, is said to be one of her catchphrases. And there is no reason to doubt that her funeral rites will elicit a rush of collective think. I think there will be a huge and exceedingly genuine spate of deep excitement, said Andrew Roberts, the historian. It will be all about her, and it will really is in relation to us. There will be an advocate to stand in the street, to see it with your own seeings, to be part of a concourse. The cumulative effects is likely to be republican. I suspect the Queens death will intensify patriotic love, one constitutional intellectual was just telling me, and therefore fit the Brexit mood, if you like, and intensify the feeling that there is nothing learn lessons from foreigners.

The wave of appearing will help to morass the tricky facts of the succession.The reclamation of Camilla as the Duchess of Cornwall has been a quiet success for the autocracy, but her accession as princes will research how far that has come. Since she married Charles in 2005, Camilla has was formally known as Princess Consort, a formulation that had not yet been historical or law intend.( Its bullshit, one former courtier told me, describing him as a sop to Diana .) The myth will be terminated when Elizabeth II succumbs. Under case law, Camilla will become queen the name ever given to the partners of rulers. There is no alternative. She is queen whatever she is called, as one scholar placed it. If she is called Princess Consort there is an implication that she is not quite up to it. Its a number of problems. There are plans to clarify this situation before the Queen dies, but King Charles is currently expected to introduce Queen Camilla at his Accession Council on D +1.( Camilla was invited to join the Privy council last-place June, so she will be present .) Confirmation of her title will form part of the first stormy 24 hours.

Crowds
Crowds watch naval ratings plucking the grease-gun cab bearing the coffin of Sir Winston Churchill to St Pauls Cathedral. Photo: PA

The Commonwealth is the other bow. In 1952, at the last accession, “theres only” eight members of the brand-new entity taking figure in the outline of the British Empire. The Queen was the head of state in seven members of them, and she was exclaimed Head of the Commonwealth to accommodate Indias lone status as a republic. Sixty-five years later, “theres” 36 republics in the organisation, which the Queen has attended assiduously throughout her reign, and now comprises a third of the worlds population. The problem is that the character is not hereditary, and there is no procedure for choosing the next one. Its a terminated grey area, said Philip Murphy, chairman of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London.

For several years, the palace has been discreetly trying to ensure Charless succession as head of the faction, in the absence of any other obvious alternative. Last October, Julia Gillard, the former premier of Australia, revealed that Christopher Geidt, the Queens private secretary, had inspected her in February 2013 to request her to support the idea. Canada and New Zealand have since fallen into line, but the name is unlikely to be included in King Charless proclamation. Instead it will be part of the discreet international lobbying that takes place as London crowds up with diplomats and chairpeople in the days after the Queens death. There will be serious, busy receptions at the palace. We are not talking about entertaining. But you have to show some anatomy of respect for the fact that they have come, said one courtier. Such banquet and commingling, with my father still unburied, seemed to me unfitting and heartless, wrote Edward VIII in his memoirs. The appearance must go on. Business will mix with grief.


There will be a thousand final groomings in the nine daylights before the funeral. Soldiers will move the processional streets. Devotions will be practised. On D +1, Westminster Hall will be fastened, cleaned and its stone floor covered with 1,500 metres of carpet. Candles, their wicks already ignite in, will be delivered over from the Abbey. The streets around will be converted into ceremonial rooms. The bollards on the Mall will be removed, and railings put up to protect the hedges. There is space for 7,000 posteriors on Horse Guards Parade and 1,345 on Carlton House Terrace. In 1952, all the rhododendrons in Parliament Square were pulled up and women were barred from the ceiling of Admiralty Arch. Good-for-nothing can be done to protect the bulb , memo the Ministry of Works. The Queens 10 pallbearers will be chosen, and practise carrying their load out of see in a barracks somewhere. British imperials are buried in lead-lined coffins. Dianas weighed a quarter of a ton.

The population will slip between sadness and irritability. In 2002, 130 beings complained to the BBC about its insensitive coverage of the Queen Mothers fatality; another 1,500 deplored that Casualty was moved to BBC2. The TV planneds in the days after the Queens death will change again. Comedy wont be taken off the BBCcompletely, but most parody will. There will be Dads Armyreruns, but no Have I Got News For You.

People will be touchy either way. After the deaths among George VI, in a society much more Christian and deferential than this one, a Mass Observation survey showed that people objected to the endless schmaltzy music, the forelock-tugging coverage. Dont they think of old folk, sick people, invalids? one 60 -year old woman expected. Its been terrifying for them, all this desolation. In a saloon in Notting Hill, one drinker said, Hes merely shit and soil now like anyone else, which started a fight. Social media is gonna be a tinderbox. In 1972, the writer Brian Masters estimated that around a third of us have dreamed about the Queen she stands for expert and our fathers. Beings who are not expecting to cry will cry.

On D +4, the coffin will move to Westminster Hall, to lie in country for four full daytimes. The procession from Buckingham Palace is likely to be the first great military ceremony of London Bridge: down the Mall, through Horse Guards, and past the Cenotaph. More or little the same slow parade, from St Jamess Palace for the Queen mother in 2002, implied 1,600 staff members and stretched for half a mile. The strips played Beethoven and a firearm was fuelled every minute from Hyde Park. The direction is thought to hold around a million people. The is our intention to get them there is based on the logistics for the London 2012 Olympics.

There may be corgis. In 1910, the mourners for Edward VII were led by his fox terrier, Caesar. His sons coffin was followed to Wolferton station, at Sandringham, by Jock, a grey shooting pony. The procession been able to reach Westminster Hall on the hour. The timing will be just so. Big Ben beginning to chime as the rotations come to a stop, as one broadcaster introduced it.

Inside the vestibule, “theres been” chant as the coffin is placed on a catafalque draped in violet. King Charleswill be back from his tour of the home people, to lead the mourners. The orb, the sceptre and the Imperial Crown will be fixed in place, soldiers will stand guard and then the doors opened to the multitude that will have formed outside and will now torrent past the Queen for 23 hours a day. For George VI, 305,000 subjects came. The direction was four miles long. The palace is expecting half a million for the Queen. There will be a wondrous queue the eventual British ritual enterprise, with canteens, police, portable toilets and strangers talking carefully to one another elongating down to Vauxhall Bridge and then over the river and back along the Albert Embankment. MPs will hop-skip to the front.

Under the chestnut roof of the passageway, everything will seem fantastically well-ordered and consoling and designed to within a part of an inch, because it is. A 47 -page internal report compiled after George VIs funeral suggested attaching metal rollers to the catafalque, to smooth the arrival of the coffin when it arrives. Four soldiers will put silent vigil for 20 hours at a time, with two ready in reserve. The RAF, the Army, the Royal Navy, the Beefeaters, the Gurkhas everyone will take part. The most senior police officers of the four will accept at the paw of the coffin, the most junior at the head. The wreaths on the coffin will be restored every day. For Churchills lying in state in 1965, a replication of the dorm was set up in the ballroom of the St Ermins hotel nearby, so soldiers could practise their progress before they went on duty. In 1936, the four sons of George V revitalized The Sovereign Vigil, in which members of the royal family arrive unannounced and stand watch. The Queens children and grandchildren including women for the first time will do the same.

Before dawn on D +9, the day of the funeral, in the silent hall, the jewels will be taken off the coffin and cleansed. In 1952, it took three jewellers virtually two hours to remove all the junk.( The Whiz of Africa, on the imperial sceptre, is the second-largest gash diamond in the world .) Most of the two countries will be waking to a day off. Shops will close, or go to bank holiday hours. Some will display pictures of the Queen in their spaces. The stock market will not open. The darknes before, there will have been church services in municipalities across the UK. There are plans to open football stadia for memorial services if necessary.

At 9am, Big Ben will impress. The buzzers hammer will then be covered with a skin pad seven-sixteenths of an inch thick, and it will ring out in muffled tones. The interval from Westminster Hall to the Abbey is only a few hundred metres. The reason will seem familiar, even though it is new: the Queen will be the first British monarch to have her funeral in the Abbey since 1760. The 2,000 clients will be sitting inside. Television cameras, in secretes make use of coated bricks, will search for the portraits that we will remember. In 1965, the dockers dipped their cranes for Churchill. In 1997, it was the word Mummy on the flowers for Diana from her sons.

When the coffin reaches the abbey entrances, at 11 oclock, the country will fall silent. The clatter will still. Qualify stations will cease notices. Bus will stop and motorists will get out at the two sides of the road. In 1952, at the same moment, all of the passengers on a flight from London to New York rose from their posteriors and digested, 18,000 feet above Canada, and bowed their heads.

Back then, the posts were clearer, or at the least they is believed that acces. A stammering lord had been part of the embattled British way of life that had survived an existential war. The wreath that Churchill laid said: For Gallantry. The BBC commentator in 1952, the man who deciphered the rubies and the rites for the nation, was Richard Dimbleby, the first British reporter to penetrate Bergen-Belsen and convey its horrors, seven years before. How genuine tonight that statement spoken by an unknown human of his beloved papa, sighed Dimbleby, describing the lying in position to millions. The sunset of his death tinged the whole worlds sky.

The trumpets and the ancientness were proof of our existence; and the rulers young daughter would rule the quietnes. These royal ceremonies represented modesty, institution, and public obedience, in contradiction to the ghastliness of Nazism, as one historian told me. The autocracy had sold dominance for theater, and in the consequences of the conflict, the misconception became more powerful than anyone could have imagined. It was restorative, Jonathan Dimbleby, Richards son and biographer, told me.

His brother, David, is likely to be behind the BBC microphone this time. The interrogation will be what the bells and the badges and the acclaims represent now. At what time does the solemnity of an imperial empire grow laughable amid the requirements of a diminished society? The perturb, a historian said, is that it is just circus animals.

If the empire exists as theater, then this suspense is the part of the drama. Can they still pull it off? Knowing all that is we know in 2017, how is possible to perhaps hold that a single person might contain the person of a person? The item of the autocracy is not to answer such questions. It is to continue. What a lot of our life we expend in action, the Queen mother used to say.

Inside the Abbey, the archbishop will speak. During devotions, the broadcasters will refrain from demo imperial faces. When the coffin rises again, the pallbearers will target it on the green handgun car that was used for the Queens father, and “his fathers” and his fathers father, and 138 junior sailors will drop their presidents to their chests and draw. The habit of being hauled by the Royal Navy started in 1901 when Victorias funeral ponies, all white-hot, would be in danger of bar at Windsor Station and a awaiting contingent of ratings stepped in to gather the coffin instead.

The procession will swing on to the Mall. In 1952, the RAF was sanded out of respect for King George VI. In 2002, at 12.45 pm, a Lancaster bomber and two Spitfires operated over the cortege for his wife and dipped their backstages. The bunch is likely to be deep for the Queen. She will get everything. From Hyde Park Corner, the hearse will go 23 miles by superhighway to Windsor Castle, which claims the authorities of British sovereigns. The royal household will be waiting for her, standing on the grass. Then the cloister barriers will be closed and cameras will stop broadcasting. Inside the chapel, the elevation to the royal vault will sink, and King Charles will discontinue a handful of crimson dirt from a silver bowl.

This article was amended on 16 March 2017 to chastise some minor missteps including the fact that three of the Queens last four “ministers ” , not the last three, were born after her accession Blair, Cameron and May; that the Star of Africa on the royal sceptre is not the most significant diamond in the world, but the second-largest cut diamond; and that the word sons was originally missing from the second sentence in this section: In 1910, the mourners for Edward VII were led by his fox terrier, Caesar. His sons coffin was followed to Wolferton station, at Sandringham, by Jock, a white-hot shooting pony.

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