The long read: She is venerated all over the world. She has outlived 12 US chairpeople. She stands for stability and prescribe. But her realm is in turmoil, and her themes are in denial that her predominate will ever goal. Thats why the palace has a plan.

In the plans that exist for the death of the Queen- and there are many versions, held a total of Buckingham Palace, the government and the BBC- most envisage that she will die after a short illness. Her family and doctors “il 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 friends to say goodbye, and to give away some of her mares. In these last hours, the Queen’s senior doctor, a gastroenterologist reputation Professor Huw Thomas, is under the responsibility. He will look after his case, controller access to her room and consider what information should be made public. The bail between monarch and themes is a strange and principally unknowable situation. A nation’s life becomes a person’s, and then the cord must break.

There will be bulletins from the palace- not many, but enough.” The Queen is suffering from enormous physical prostration, accompanied by indications which effect much feeling ,” announced Sir James Reid, Queen Victoria’s physician, two days before her extinction in 1901.” The King’s life is moving peacefully towards its close ,” was the final notice issued by George V’s doctor, Lord Dawson, at 9.30 pm on the night of 20 January 1936. Not long subsequentlies, Dawson inserted the sovereign with 750 mg of morphine and a gram of cocaine- enough to kill him twice over- in order to ease the monarch’s suffering, and to have him expire in time for the printing press of the Times, which wheeled at midnight.

Her attentions will be closed and Charles will be king. His siblings will caress his hands. The first official to deal with the report will be Sir Christopher Geidt, the Queen’s private secretary, a former mediator who was given a second knighthood in 2014, in part for scheduling her succession.

Geidt will contact the prime minister. The last epoch a British monarch died, 65 years ago, the demise of George VI was conveyed in a system message, “Hyde Park Corner”, to Buckingham Palace, to prevent switchboard operators from finding out. For Elizabeth II, the plan for what happens next is known as “London Bridge.” The prime minister will be arouse, if she is not already awake, and civil servants will say ” London Bridge is down” on self-assured lines. From the Foreign Office’s Global Response Centre, at an undisclosed locating in the capital, the report will go out to the 15 governments outside the UK where the Queen is also the head of state, and the 36 other nations of the Commonwealth for whom she has dished as a symbolic figurehead- a face familiar in dreams and the untidy makes of a billion schoolchildren- since the dawn of the atomic age.

For a meter, she will be gone without our knowing it. The datum will jaunt like the compressional curve ahead of an shake, detectable simply by special paraphernalium. Governors general, envoys and prime ministers will learn firstly. Cupboards will be opened in search of pitch-black armbands, three-and-a-quarter inches wide, to be tattered 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 attendant at Sandringham at 7.30 am. The BBC did not broadcast the word until 11.15 am, nearly four hours later. When Princess Diana died at 4am neighbourhood period at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris on 31 August 1997, writers accompanying the former foreign secretary, Robin Cook, on a visit to the Philippines knew within 15 minutes. For many years the BBC was told about royal deaths first, but its monopoly on broadcasting to the territory has gone now. When the Queen dies, the announcement will go out as a newsflash to the Press association and the rest of the world’s media simultaneously. At the same instantaneou, a footman in sorrowing robes will emerge from a doorway at Buckingham Palace, cross the dull pink gravel and pin a black-edged see to the entrances. While he does this, the palace website will be transformed into a sombre, single sheet, evidencing the same textbook on a dark background.

Screens will glow. There will be tweets. At the BBC, the “radio alert transmission system”( Rats ), will be activated- a cold war-era dismay designed to withstand an attack on the nation’s infrastructure. Rats, which is also sometimes referred to as” royal are due to snuff it “, is a near imaginary part of the intricate building of ritual and recitals for the death of major imperial personalities that the BBC has maintained since the 1930 s. Most staff have only ever seen it work in exams; many have never seen it work at all.” Whenever there is a strange noise in the newsroom, person ever expects,’ Is that the Rats ?’ Because we don’t know what it definitely sounds like ,” one regional reporter told me.

All news organisations will clamber to get films on breath and obituaries online. At the Guardian, the representative writer has a directory of prepared storeys 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 rehearsed the deaths among the Queen substituting the figure” Mrs Robinson”, announces will go out to royal experts who have already signed contracts to speak alone on those channels.” I am going to be sitting outside the doors of the Abbey on a hugely grown trestle table commentating to 300 million Americans about this ,” one told me.

For beings stuck in traffic, or with Heart FM on in the background, there will only be the subtlest of indications, at first, that something is going on.Britain’s commercial radio stations have a network of blue” obit lamps”, which is researched once a week and supposed to do now light up in the event of a national misfortune. When the report breakings, these suns will start flashing, to alert DJs to switch to the report in the next few minutes and to play inoffensive music in the meantime. Every depot, down to hospital radio, has prepared music inventories made up of” Mood 2″( sad) or” Mood 1″( saddest) chants to contact for in times of abrupt lament.” If you ever listen Haunted 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 ghastly has just happened .”

Having proposals in place for the death of leading royals is a practice that attains some writers awkward.” There is one story which is deemed to be so much more important than others ,” one former Today programme producer to present to me. For 30 years, BBC news teams were hauled to work on quiet Sunday mornings to perform taunt storylines about the Queen mother choke on a fishbone. There was once a scenario about Princess Diana succumbing in a vehicle gate-crash on the M4.

These well-laid programs have not always facilitated. In 2002, when the Queen mother expired, the obit light-footeds didn’t come on because someone failed to push the button down properly. On the BBC, Peter Sissons, the ex-serviceman fasten, was criticized by wearing a maroon affiliation. Sissons was the main victims of a BBC policy change, issued after the September 11 assaults, to moderate its coverage and be reduced by” category one” imperials eligible for the full obituary procedure. The last word in Sissons’s ear before going on air were:” Don’t go overboard. She’s a very old woman who had to go some time .”

But there will be no extemporising with the Queen. The newsreaders will wear black clothings and black ties. Category one was shaped for her. Curriculum will stop. Networks will consolidate. BBC 1, 2 and 4 will be interrupted and revert mutely to their respective idents- training exercises class in village representatives hall, a swan waiting on a pond- before grouped together for the information. Listeners to Radio 4 and Radio 5 live will hear a specific formulation of words,” This is the BBC from London ,” which, intentionally or not, will summon a spirit of national emergency.

The main reason for recitals is to have words that are roughly approximate to the moment.” It is with the greatest mourning that we construct the following announcement ,” said John Snagge, the BBC presenter who informed the world of the death of George VI.( The news was echoed seven durations, every 15 instants, and then the BBC started silent for five hours ). Harmonizing to one former is chairman of BBC news, a very similar established of words will be used for the Queen. The rehearsals for her are different to the other members of the family, he excused. Parties 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 be issued on the screen. The national hymn will play. You will remember where you were.


When parties think of a contemporary royal fatality in Britain, they fantasize, inescapably, of Diana. The extend of the Queen will be monumental by comparison. It may not be as nakedly psychological, but its contact is likely to be wider, and its suggests 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 routine for modern royal burials is more or less familiar( Diana’s was based on “Tay Bridge”, the plan for the Queen Mother’s ). But the deaths among a British ruler, and the accession of a new head of state, is a ritual that is passing out of living remembrance: three of the Queen’s last four prime ministers were born after she came to the throne. When she succumbs, both houses of parliament will be recalled, beings will go home from handiwork early, and aircraft aviators will announce the news to their passengers. In the nine dates that follow( in London Bridge planning certificates, these are known as “D-day”, ” D +1″ and so on) “theres been” ritual decrees, a four-nation tour by the new ruler, bowdlerised television programming, and a diplomatic meet in London not interpreted since the death of Winston Churchill in 1965.

More overwhelming than any of this, though, there will be an almighty mental calculate for the field that she leaves behind. The Queen is Britain’s last living link with our former greatness- the nation’s id, its problematic self-regard- which continues to be defined by our victory in the second world war. One producing historian, who love most people I interviewed for this article declined to be referred, stressed that the farewell for this country’s longest-serving monarch is likely to be beautiful.” 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 will really be over when she goes .”

Unlike the US presidency, say, empires countenance massive texts of meter- a century, in some cases- to grow entwined with an individual. The second Elizabethan age is likely to be remembered as a reign of uninterrupted national nosedive, and even, if she lives long enough and Scotland starts the union, as one of deterioration. Life and politics at the end of her pattern is likely to be unrecognisable from their grandeur and innocence at its beginning.” We don’t blame her for it ,” Philip Ziegler, the historian and royal biographer, told me.” We have rejected with her, so to speak .”

The obituary movies will remind us what a two countries she inherited. One bit of footage will be played again and again: from her 21 st birthday, in 1947, when Princess Elizabeth was on holiday with her parents in Cape Town. She was 6,000 miles from dwelling and comfortably within the sallow of the British Empire. The princess baby-sit at a counter with a microphone. The shadow of a tree plays on her shoulder. The camera adjusts three or four times as she talks, and on each occasion, she twitches momentarily, exposing tiny lights of aristocratic irritation.” I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service, and the services offered of our enormous imperial house to which we all belong ,” she says, enunciating vowels and a conception of the world that have both vanished.

It is not uncommon for a country to succumb to a position of negation as a long chapter in the course of history is about to end. When it became public that Queen Victoria was dying, at persons below the age of 82, a widow for half their own lives,” stunned agony … swept the two countries”, wrote her biographer, Lytton Strachey. In the minds of her themes, the queen’s mortality had become unimaginable; and with her collapse, everything was unexpectedly at risk, placed in the handwritings of an older and untrusted heir, Edward VII.” The wild waters are upon we are currently ,” wrote the American Henry James, who had endeavoured to London 30 times before.

The parallels with the unease that we will feel at the death of Elizabeth II are obvious, but without the consolation of Britain’s status in 1901 as the world’s most successful country.” We have to have narrations for royal happenings ,” the historian told me.” In the Victorian predominate, everything got better and better, and big and big. We certainly can’t tell that tale today .”

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

And yet this taboo, like much to do with the monarchy, is not entirely rational, and masks a parallel reality. The next great rupture in Britain’s national life has, in fact, been planned to the time. It involves matters of major public relevance, will be paid for by us, and is certainly be happening. Harmonizing to the Office of National Statistics, a British female who contacts 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 in times of maximum disquiet about Britain’s place in countries around the world, at a few moments when internal political frictions are close to breaking her realm apart. Her extinction will likewise release its own destabilising coerces: in the accession of Queen Camilla; in the optics of a new tycoon who is already an old person; and in the future of the Commonwealth, an invention mainly of her engender.( The Queen’s title of” Head of the Commonwealth” is not hereditary .) Australia’s prime minister and president of the opposition parties both want the country to become a republic.

Coping with the way these events fall is the next great challenge of the House of Windsor, the last European royal family to perform coronations and to persist- with the collusion of a willing public- in the sorcery of the whole firm. That is why the planning for the Queen’s death and its ceremonial aftermath is so extended. Succession is part of the job. It allows for tell to be affirmed. Queen Victoria had written down the substance of her coffin by 1875. The Queen Mother’s funeral was rehearsed for 22 years. Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, organized a wintertime and a summer menu for his funeral lunch. London Bridge is the Queen’s departure plan. “It’s history,” as one of her courtiers said. It will be 10 daytimes of affliction and sight in which, preferably like the dazzling mirror of the kingdom itself, the authorities concerned will revel in who we were and avoid the question of what we have become.


The idea is for nothing to be unforeseen. If the Queen dies abroad, a BAe 146 plane from the RAF’s No 32 squadron, known as the Royal Flight, will take off from Northolt, at the countries of the western hem of London, with a coffin on board. The royal morticians, Leverton& Sons, obstruct what they call a” first announce coffin” ready in case of royal emergencies. Both George V and George VI were buried in oak grown on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk. If the Queen expires there, her body will come to London by automobile after a day or two.

The most elaborated programs 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 custom. First, the Queen’s body will lie at rest in her smallest palace, at Holyroodhouse, in Edinburgh, where she is traditionally guarded by the Royal Company of Archers, who wear eagle plumages in their bonnets. Then the coffin is likely to be carried up the Royal Mile to St Giles’s cathedral, for a service of reception, before being put on board the Royal Train at Waverley station for a sad advancement down the east coast mainline. Crowds are expected at level crossings and on depot platforms the length of the country- from Musselburgh and Thirsk in the north, to Peterborough and Hatfield in the south- to shed flowers on the go qualify.( Another locomotive will follow behind, to clear debris from the ways .)” It’s 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 Queen’s body returns to the throne chamber in Buckingham Palace, which overlooks the north-west corner of the Quadrangle, its interior quadrangle. There will be an altar, the veil, the imperial standard, and four Grenadier Guards, their bearskin hats inclined, their rifles pointing to the flooring, standing watch. In the passageways, staff 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 chore to be done ,” said one veteran of royal burials. There will be no time for sadness, or are concerned about what happens next. Charles will bring in many of his own staff when he accedes.” Bear in subconsciou ,” the courtier said,” everybody who works in the palace is actually on acquired hour .”

Outside, bulletin crews will make on pre-agreed areas next to Canada Gate, at the bottom of Green Park .( Special fibre-optic cable ranges under the Mall, for broadcasting British territory opportunities .)” I have got in front of me an instruction book got a couple of inches thick ,” said one TV director, who will include the ceremonies, when we spoke on the phone.” Everything in there is planned. Everyone knows what to do .” Across the country, flags will come down and buzzers will toll. In 1952, Great Tom was resounded at St Paul’s every minute for two hours when the information was announced. The buzzers at Westminster Abbey sounded and the Sebastopol bell, taken from the Black Sea city during the course of its Crimean war and reverberates simply on the party of a sovereign’s death, was tolled 56 experiences at Windsor- formerly for each year of George VI’s life- from 1.27 pm until 2.22 pm.

The 18 th Duke of Norfolk, the Earl Marshal, is under the responsibility. Norfolks have overseen royal burials since 1672. During the 20 th century, a fixed of offices in St James’s Palace was always earmarked for their apply. On the morning of George VI’s death, in 1952, the issue is being renovated. By five o’clock in the afternoon, the scaffolding was down and the rooms were re-carpeted, afforded and furnished with telephones, illuminates and heating. During London Bridge, the Lord Chamberlain’s office in the palace is likely to be the centre of operations. The current version of the propose is primarily the initiatives of Lieutenant-Colonel Anthony Mather, a former equerry who retired from the palace in 2014. As a 23 -year-old guardsman in 1965, Mather preceded the pallbearers at Churchill’s funeral.( He declined to speak with me .) The government’s crew- coordinating the police, protection, transport and armed forces- will assemble at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Person will have the number of jobs of reproducing 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 will know each other. For a restricted stratum of the British aristocracy and civil service, the artwork of planning major burials- the solemnity, the undue item- can express a certain national competence. Thirty-one parties gathered for the first find to strategy Churchill’s funeral,” Operation Hope Not”, in June 1959, six years before his death. Those working on London Bridge( and Tay Bridgeand Forth Bridge, the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral) will have equaled for years in a language of administrative euphemism, about” a possible future rite “;” a future problem “;” some inevitable moment, the timing of which, nonetheless, is quite unsure “.

The firstly 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” meets two to three times per year for the various actors committed( 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 deep civil and methodical.” Everyone around the world is looking to us to do this again perfectly ,” said one,” and we will .” Design are updated and old-time forms are destroyed. Arcane and highly specific acquaintance is shared. It takes 28 instants at a slow procession from the doors of St James’s to the entering of Westminster Hall. The coffin must have a spurious lid, to hold the crown jewel, with a boundary at least three inches high.

In theory, everything is settled. But in the hours after the Queen has croaked, there will be items that only Charles can choose.” Everything has to be signed off by the Duke of Norfolk and the King ,” one official “ve told me”. The Monarch of Wales has waited longer to presuppose the British throne than any heir, and countries around the world will now twirled around him at a brand-new and uncrossable distance.” For a little while ,” wrote Edward VIII, of the working day between his father’s death and funeral,” I had the uneasy whiz of being left alone on a vast theatre .” In recent years, much of the is currently working on London Bridge has focused on the exact choreography of Charles’s 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 fashioning of a prince .” Charles is scheduled to prepare his first address as head of state on the evening of his mother’s death.

Switchboards- the Palace, Downing Street, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport- is likely to be swamped with bellows during the first 48 hours. It is such a long time since the death of a monarch that many national organisations won’t know what to do. The official advice, as it was last experience, will be that business should continue as usual. This won’t inevitably happen. If the Queen dies during Royal Ascot, the gratify will be scrapped. The Marylebone Cricket Club is said to hold insurance for a similar upshot if she transfers away during a home exam accord at Lord’s. After the deaths among George VI in 1952, rugby and hockey fixtures were announced off, while football matches departed ahead. Fans sang Abide With Me and “the member states national” hymn before kick off. The National Theatre will close if the report terminates before 4pm, and remain open if not. All competitions, including golf, will be banned in the Royal Parks.

In 2014, the National Association of Civic Officers circulated etiquettes for local authorities to follow in case of” the deaths among a elderly national person “. It advised stockpiling notebooks of condolence- loose bud, so inappropriate contents can be removed- to be placed in town halls, libraries and museums the day after the Queen dies. Mayors will mask their medals( maces will be shrouded with pitch-black baggages ). In county metropolitans, big screens will be erected so crowds can follow phenomena taking place in London, and pennants of every possible descriptions, including beach flags( but not red peril flags ), will be winged at half mast. The country must be seen to know what it is doing. The recently released determined of directions to delegations in London went out just before Christmas. One of the biggest headaches will be for the Foreign office, dealing with all the dignitaries who pitch from all corners of the earth. In Papua New Guinea, where the Queen is the head of state, she is known as” Mama belong big clas “. European imperial households will be put up at the palace; the residue will stay at Claridge’s hotel.

Parliament will pick. If possible, both houses will sit within hours of the monarch’s death. In 1952, the Commons convened for two minutes before noon.” We cannot at this moment do more than record a spontaneous face of our regret ,” said Churchill, who was prime minister. The house met again in the evening, when MPs began attesting the promise of allegiance to the brand-new monarch. Letters rained in on the part of parliament and presidents. The US House of Representatives adjourned. Ethiopia announced two weeks of sorrowing. 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 Queen’s death, the flags will go back up, and at 11 am, Charles will be extol ruler. The Accession Council, which convenes in the red-carpeted Entree Room of St James’s Palace, long predates parliament. The satisfy, 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 belief, all 670 current members of the Privy Council, from Jeremy Corbyn to Ezekiel Alebua, the former the ministers of the Solomon Islands, are invited- but there is seat for only 150 or so. In 1952, the Queen was one of two women present at her proclamation.

The clerk, a senior civil servant identified Richard Tilbrook, will read out the formal word,” Whereas it has pleased Almighty God to call to His Mercy our late Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth the Second of Consecrated and Glorious recall …” and Charles will carry out the first official duties of his reign, blaspheming to protect the Church in Scotland, and speaking of the heavy headache that is now his.

At dawn, the central space overlooking Friary Court, on the palace’s eastern front, will have been removed and the ceiling outside contained within crimson find. After Charles has spoken, trumpeters from the Life Guards, wearing cherry-red plumes on their helmets, will step outside, throw three blasts and the Garter King of Arms, a genealogist mentioned Thomas Woodcock, will stand on the balcony and start the ritual decrees of King Charles III.” I will do the first one ,” said Woodcock, whose official payment of PS49. 07 has not been raised since the 1830 s. In 1952, four newsreel cameras recorded the moment. This time there will be an audience of billions. Beings will look for auguries- in the condition, in birds piloting overhead- for Charles’s reign. At Elizabeth’s accession, everyone was convinced that the brand-new queen was too calm. The clique of the Coldstream Guards will play “the member states national” anthem on containers that are wrapped in pitch-black cloth.

The proclamations will only just be getting started. From St James’s, the Garter King of Armsand half a dozen other portends, looks a lot like extra from an expensive Shakespeare production, will go by car to the effigy of Charles I, at the basi of Trafalgar Square, which marks London’s official midpoint, and read out the word again. A 41 -gun salute- nearly seven hours of cannon- will be fired from Hyde Park. “There is no concession to modernity in this,” one former palace official told me. There is likely to be cocked hats and mares everywhere. One of the concerns of the broadcasters is what the crowds will look like as they seek to record these times of biography.” The entire world “re gonna be all” bloody-minded doing this ,” said one word administration, holding up his phone in front of his face.

On the old-fashioned boundary of the City of London, outside the Royal Courtrooms of Justice, a red-faced line will hang across the road. The City Marshal, a former police detective chief superintendent appointed Philip Jordan, will be waiting on a pony. The presages will be formally admitted to the City, and there will be more trumpets and more edicts: at the Royal Exchange, and then in a chain reaction across the country. Sixty-five years ago, there were crowds of ten, 000 in Birmingham; 5,000 in Manchester; 15,000 in Edinburgh. High Sheriffs stood on the steps of town hall, and announced the new monarch according to neighbourhood habit. In York, the Mayor invoked a toast to the Queen from a bowl made use of solid gold.

The same practices will take place, but this time around the brand-new lord will too go out to meet his beings. From his proclamation at St James’s, Charles will immediately tour the two countries, visiting Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff to attend services of recollection for his mother and to fill the leaders of the devolved authorities. There will too be civic receipts, for educators, doctors and other ordinary kinfolk, which are intended to reflect the adapted atmosphere of his predominate.” From day one, it is about the peoples of the territories rather than simply the leaders being part of this new kingdom ,” said one of his advisers, who described the plans for Charles’s progress as:” Lots of not being in a automobile, but actually walking around .” In the capital, the pomp of royal demise and accession will be archaic and bewildering. But from another metropoli every day, “theres been” images of the brand-new emperor mourning alongside his subjects, accepting his almighty, lonely capacity in the public imagination.” It is see and be seen ,” the adviser said.


For a long time, the prowes of imperial spectacle was for other, weaker publics: Italians, Russians, and Habsburgs. British ritual reasons were a mess. At the burial of Princess Charlotte, in 1817, the undertakers were drunk. Ten years later, St George’s Chapel was so cold during the burial of the Duke of York that George Canning, the foreign secretary, contracted rheumatic delirium and the bishop of London died.” We never construed so motley, so rude, so ill-managed a form of persons ,” reported the Times on the funeral of George IV, in 1830. Victoria’s coronation a few years later was nothing to write home about. The clergy got lost in the words; the singing was horrid; and the royal jewellers stirred the coronation ring for the wrong paw.” Some people have a offering for ceremonial ,” the Marquess of Salisbury wrote in 1860.” In England the case is exactly the reverse .”

What we think of as the ancient customs of the empire is largely crafted in the late 19 th century, toward the end of Victoria’s reign. Courtiers, politicians and constitutional theorists such as Walter Bagehot worried about the frightful view of the Empress of India trooping around Windsor in her donkey go-cart. If the treetop was going to give up its executive authority, it would have to invigorate love and awe by other means- and theatre was part of the answer.” The most democratic we get ,” wrote Bagehot in 1867,” the more we shall get at like nation and indicate .”

Obsessed by extinction, Victoria schemed her own funeral with some mode. But it was her son, Edward VII, who is largely held liable for resurrecting royal display. One courtier praised his” curious dominance of visualising a pageant “. He turned the position opening of parliament and armed drills, like the Trooping of the Colour, into full fancy-dress opportunities, and at his own guide, resurrected the medieval communion of lying in state. Hundreds of thousands of subjects registered past his coffin in Westminster Hall in 1910, conceding a brand-new sense of friendship to the body of the sovereign. By 1932, George V was a national father figure, dedicating the first imperial Christmas speech to the commonwealth- a tradition that perseveres today- in a radio address written for him by Rudyard Kipling.

The shambles and the remoteness of the 19 th-century empire are hereby replaced by an idealised family and historic pageantry fabricated 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 concept .” Now we all know that no one else fairly does it like the British.

The Queen, by all accounts a practical and unsentimental person, understands the theatrical influence of the crown.” I have to be seen to be believed ,” is said to be one of her catchphrases. And there is no reason to doubt that her funeral rites will conjure a rush of collective seem.” I think there will be a huge and exceedingly genuine outpouring of deep ardour ,” said Andrew Roberts, the historian. It will be all about her, and it has certainly be about us. There will be an counsel to stand in the street, to see it with your own sees, to be part of a person. The cumulative effects will be conservative.” I suppose the Queen’s death will deepen patriotic experiences ,” one constitutional philosopher “ve told me”,” and therefore fit the Brexit mood, if you like, and quicken the feeling that there is nothing learn lessons from strangers .”

The wave of feeling will help to drenched the clumsy facts of the succession.The reclamation of Camilla as the Duchess of Cornwall has been a quiet success for the monarchy, but her accession as princes will test how far that has come. Since she married Charles in 2005, Camilla has been officially known as Princess Consort, a formulation that has no historical or law intend. (” It’s bullshit ,” one former courtier “ve told me”, describing it as” a sop to Diana “.) The story will end when Elizabeth II dies. Under common law, Camilla will become monarch — the designation always given to the spouses of monarches. There is no alternative.” She is queen whatever she is called ,” as one intellectual employed it.” If she is called Princess Consort there is an implication that she is not quite up to it. It’s a problem .” 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 entitle will form part of the first stormy 24 hours.

Crowds
Crowds watch naval ratings pulling the handgun vehicle bearing the coffin of Sir Winston Churchill to St Paul’s Cathedral. Photo: PA

The Commonwealth is the other bow. In 1952, at the last accession, “theres only” eight the membership of the new entity taking influence in the broad outlines of the British Empire. The Queen was the head of state in seven members of them, and she was extol Head of the Commonwealth to accommodate India’s lone status as a republic. Sixty-five years later, the committee is 36 republics in the organization, which the Queen has attended assiduously throughout her predominate, and now comprises a third of the world’s population. The difficulty is that the persona is not hereditary, and there is no procedure for chosen by the next one.” It’s a ended 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 requested to ensure Charles’s succession as head of the alliance, in the lack of any other obvious alternative. Last-place October, Julia Gillard, the former prime minister of Australia, revealed that Christopher Geidt, the Queen’s private secretary, had called her in February 2013 to question her to support the idea. Canada and New Zealand have since fallen into line, but the entitlement is unlikely to be included in King Charles’s decree. Instead it will be part of the discreet international lobbying that currently exists as London crowds up with officials and chairpeople in the working day after the Queen’s death. There will be serious, busy receptions at the palace.” We are not talking about entertaining. But you have to show some way 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 inhuman ,” wrote Edward VIII in his memoir. The see must go on. Business will mix with grief.


There will be a thousand final plannings in the nine eras before the funeral. Soldiers will walk the processional streets. Prayers will be rehearsed. On D +1, Westminster Hall is likely to be fastened, cleansed and its stone floor covered with 1,500 metres of carpet. Candles, their wicks already ignite in, will be introduced over from the Abbey. The streets around will be converted into ceremonial seats. The bollards on the Mall will be removed, and rails put up to protect the hedges. There is space for 7,000 tushes 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 be prohibited from the roof of Admiralty Arch.” Nothing can be done to protect the bulbs ,” mentioned the Ministry of Works. The Queen’s 10 pallbearers will be chosen, and practise carrying their onu out of view in a barracks somewhere. British royals are buried in lead-lined coffins. Diana’s weighed a part of a ton.

The population will slide between sadness and irritability. In 2002, 130 parties complained to the BBC about its insensitive coverage of the Queen Mother’s death; another 1,500 complained that Casualty was moved to BBC2. The Tv planneds in the working day after the Queen’s death will change again. Comedy won’t be taken off the BBCcompletely, but most satire will. There is likely to be Dad’s Armyreruns, but no Have I Got News For You.

People will be touchy either way. After the death of George VI, in national societies much more Christian and deferential than this one, a Mass Observation survey goes to show that beings objected to the endless schmaltzy music, the forelock-tugging coverage.” Don’t they think of old folk, sick people, invalids ?” one 60 -year old woman requested.” It’s been ghastly for them, all this despair .” In a rail in Notting Hill, one boozer said,” He’s only shit and soil now like anyone else ,” which started a fight. Social media is gonna be a tinderbox. In 1972, “the authors ” Brian Masters estimated that around a third of us have dreamed about the Queen- she expressed support for approval and our fathers. Parties who are not expecting to cry will cry.

On D +4, the coffin will move to Westminster Hall, to lie in regime for four full days. The procession from Buckingham Palace will be the first great military procession of London Bridge: down the Mall, through Horse Guards, and past the Cenotaph. More or little the same slow parade, from St James’s Palace for the Queen mother in 2002, implied 1,600 personnel and extended for half a mile. The parties played Beethoven and a artillery was burnt every minute from Hyde Park. The roadway is thought to hold around a million people. The are projected 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 son’s coffin was followed to Wolferton station, at Sandringham, by Jock, a white-hot shooting pony. The procession will reach Westminster Hall on the hour. The timing is likely to be just so.” Big Ben beginning to chime as the rotations come to a stop ,” as one broadcaster gave it.

Inside the vestibule, “theres been” psalm as the coffin is placed on a catafalque covered in purple. King Charleswill be back from his tour of the dwelling nations, 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 is now time brook past the Queen for 23 hours per day. For George VI, 305,000 subjects came. The front was four miles long. The palace is expecting half thousands and thousands of for the Queen. There will be a wondrous queue- the ultimate British ritual tackle, with canteens, police, portable toilets and strangers talking carefully to one another- stretching down to Vauxhall Bridge and then over the river and back along the Albert Embankment. MPs will bounce to the front.

Under the chestnut ceiling of the hall, everything will feel fantastically well-ordered and consoling and designed to within a one-quarter of an inch, because it is. A 47 -page internal report gathered after George VI’s funeral suggested attaching metal rollers to the catafalque, to smooth the disembark of the coffin where reference is arrives. Four soldiers will stand silent vigil for 20 times at a time, with two ready in reserve. The RAF, the Army, the Royal Navy, the Beefeaters, the Gurkhas- everybody is take part. The most senior police officers of the four will stand at the paw of the coffin, the most junior at the head. The wreaths on the coffin will be revitalized every day. For Churchill’s lying in government in 1965, a replication of the auditorium was set up in the ballroom of the St Ermin’s hotel nearby, so soldiers could practise their changes before they went on duty. In 1936, the four sons of George V restored The Prince’s Vigil, in which members of the royal family arrive unannounced and stand watch. The Queen’s children and grandchildren- including women for the first time- will do the same.

Before dawn on D +9, the working day of the funeral, in the silent vestibule, the pearls will be taken off the coffin and cleaned. In 1952, it took three jewellers almost two hours to remove all the dust.( The Virtuoso of Africa, on the royal sceptre, is the second-largest section diamond in countries around 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 exchange will not open. The night before, there will have been church services in cities across the UK. There are plans to open football stadiums for memorial services if necessary.

At 9am, Big Ben will strike. The bell’s mallet will then be covered with a skin pad seven-sixteenths of an inch dense, and it will ring out in muffled tones. The distance from Westminster Hall to the Abbey is merely a few hundred metres. The party will feel 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. Video cameras, in hides made use of coated bricks, will search for the images that we will recollect. 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 o’clock, the two countries will fall silent. The rattle will still. Improve stations will cease notices. Bus will be suspended and motorists will get out at the side of the road. In 1952, at the same instant, all of the passengers on a flight from London to New York rose from their accommodates and stood, 18,000 feet above Canada, and bent their heads.

Back then, the stakes were clearer, or at the least they is believed that way. A stammering king had been part of the embattled British way of life that had existed an existential campaign. The crown that Churchill laid said:” For Gallantry .” The BBC commentator in 1952, the man who read the rubies and the rites for the nation, was Richard Dimbleby, the first British reporter to register Bergen-Belsen and show its repugnances, seven years before.” How true-blue tonight that statement is talking about an unknown mortal of his beloved father ,” murmured Dimbleby, describing the couch in position to millions.” The sunset of his death tinged the whole world’s sky .”

The trumpets and the ancientness were evidence of our survival; and the king’s young daughter would regulate the peace.” These royal ceremonies represented decency, habit, and public role, in contradiction to the ghastliness of Nazism ,” as one historian “ve told me”. The autocracy had sold ability for theatre, and in the aftermath of crusade, the apparition became more powerful than anyone could have imagined.” It was restorative ,” Jonathan Dimbleby, Richard’s son and biographer, told me.

His brother, David, is likely to be behind the BBC microphone this time. The question will be what the bells and the insigniums and the portends represent now. At what moment does the magnificence of an imperial kingdom become ridiculous amid the specifics of a diminished society?” The concern ,” a historian said,” is that it is just circus animals .”

If the monarchy exists as theater, then this doubt is the part of the drama. Can they still pull it off? Knowing everything that we know in 2017, how can it maybe hold that a single person might enclose the soul of a society? The quality of the kingdom is not to answer such questions. It is to continue.” What a lot of our life we waste in behaving ,” the Queen Mother used to say.

Inside the Abbey, the archbishop will speak. During devotions, the broadcasters will refrain from demo royal faces. When the coffin develops again, the pallbearers will place it on the light-green handgun car that was used for the Queen’s father, and “his fathers” and his father’s father, and 138 junior sailors will decline their honchoes to their chests and attract. The institution of being hauled by the Royal Navy was undertaken in 1901 when Victoria’s funeral horses, all white-hot, would be in danger of shaft at Windsor Station and a waiting contingent of ratings stepped in to attract the coffin instead.

The procession will fluctuate on to the Mall. In 1952, the RAF was grounded out of respect for King George VI. In 2002, at 12.45 pm, a Lancaster bomber and two Spitfires piloted over the cortege for his wife and dipped their backstages. The gang is likely to be deep for the Queen. She will get everything. From Hyde Park Corner, the hearse will go 23 miles by road to Windsor Castle, which claims the bodies of British monarches. 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 hoist to the imperial grave will condescend, and King Charles will stop a handful of cherry-red dirt from a silver-tongued bowl.

* Such articles was amended on 16 March 2017 to chastise some minor mistakes including the fact that three of the Queen’s last four prime 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 worlds largest” diamond in countries around the world, but the second-largest cut diamond; and that the word “son’s” was initially missing from the second largest convict in this passage:” In 1910, the mourners for Edward VII were led by his fox terrier, Caesar. His son’s coffin was followed to Wolferton station, at Sandringham, by Jock, a white shooting pony .”

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