The long speak: She is adored of all the countries. She has outlived 12 US chairwomen. She stands for stability and ordering. But her country is in turmoil, and her themes are in denial that her predominate will ever outcome. Thats why the palace has a plan.

In the plans that exist for the death of the Queen and there are many versions, held by Buckingham Palace, the government and the BBC most envisage 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 ponies. In these last hours, the Queens elderly doctor, a gastroenterologist called Professor Huw Thomas, will be in charge. He will look after his patient, restraint access to her area and consider what information should be made public. The bail between sovereign and themes is a strange and principally unknowable concept. A nations life becomes a persons, and then the cord must break.

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

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

Geidt will contact the prime minister. The last age a British monarch croaked, 65 years ago, the downfall of George VI was conveyed in a code statement, 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 prime minister is likely to be arouse, if she is not already awake, and civil servants will say London Bridge is down on fasten courses. From the Foreign Offices Global Response Centre, at an undisclosed location in the capital city, the report 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 acted as a symbolic figurehead a look familiar in nightmares and the untidy pulls of a billion schoolchildren since the sunrise of the atomic age.

For a age, she will be gone without our to hear about it. The message will trip like the compressional ripple ahead of an shake, detectable simply by special material. Governors general, representatives and prime ministers will read 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 rapidly 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, virtually four hours later. When Princess Diana croaked at 4am neighbourhood age at the Piti-Salptrire hospital in Paris on 31 August 1997, columnists accompanying the former foreign secretary, Robin Cook, on a call to the Philippines knew within 15 times. For many years the BBC was told about royal deaths firstly, but its monopoly on broadcasting to the territory has gone now. When the Queen dies, the proclamation will go out as a newsflash to the News organisation and the rest of “the worlds” media simultaneously. At the same wink, a footman in sorrowing robes will emerge from a opening at Buckingham Palace, cross the dull pink gravel and pin a black-edged placard to the doors. While he does this, the palace website is likely to be transformed into a sombre, single sheet, demonstrating the same textbook on a dark background.

Screens will brighten. There is likely to be tweets. At the BBC, the radio alarm transmission system( Rats ), will be activated a cold war-era frighten designed to withstand an attack on the nations infrastructure. Rats, which is also sometimes refers to as royal about to snuff it, is a near mythical the members of the intricate building of ritual and rehearsals for the death of major royal identities that the BBC has maintained since the 1930 s. Most staff have only ever seen it work in research; many have never seen it work at all. Whenever there is a strange racket in the newsroom, person ever asks, Is that the Rat? Because we dont know what it is just like, one regional reporter told me.

All news organisations will clamber to get movies on air and obituaries online. At the Guardian, the representative editor has a register of prepared legends 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 death of the Queen substituting the mention Mrs Robinson, announces will go out to royal experts who have already signed contracts to pronounce exclusively on those channels. I am going to be sitting outside the doors of the Abbey on a hugely broadened trestle table commentating to 300 million Americans about this, one told me.

For parties stuck in congestion, 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 network of blue obit lightings, which is experimented formerly a week and supposed to light up in cases where there their own nationals devastation. When the report destroys, these lightings will start twinkling, to notify DJs to switch to the report in the next few minutes and to play inoffensive music in the meantime. Every station, down to hospital radio, has prepared music lists made up of Mood 2( lamentable) or Mood 1( saddest) songs to reaching for in times of sudden lament. If you ever hear Recurred Dancehall( Nursery Remix) by Sabres of Paradise on daytime Radio 1, switch the Tv on, wrote Chris Price, a BBC radio producer, for the Huffington Post in 2011. Something appalling has just happened.

Having schemes in place for the death of passing royals is a practice that clears some columnists uncomfortable. There is one story which is deemed to be so much more important than others, one former Today programme producer to make available to me. For 30 years, BBC news units were hauled to work on quiet Sunday mornings to play-act taunt storylines about the Queen Mother choking on a fishbone. There was once a scenario about Princess Diana dying in a automobile disintegrate on the M4.

These well-laid schemes have not ever helped. In 2002, when the Queen Mother croaked, the obit lightings didnt go up because person failed to push the button down properly. On the BBC, Peter Sissons, the veteran linchpin, was criticized for wearing a brownish-red tie-up. Sissons was the main victims of a BBC policy change, issued after the September 11 attempts, to moderate its coverage and increase the number of category one royals eligible for the full obituary procedure. The last word in Sissonss ear before going on air 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 dress and black ties. Category one was realise for her. Curriculum will be suspended. Networks will coalesce. BBC 1, 2 and 4 will be interrupted and revert silently to their respective idents an exercise class in village representatives dorm, a swan is looking forward to a pond before coming together for the report. 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 atmosphere of national emergency.

The main reason for rehearsals is to have words that are roughly approximate to the moment. It is with the greatest sorrow that we make the following proclamation, remarked John Snagge, the BBC presenter who informed “the worlds” of the death of George VI.( The report was reiterated seven times, every 15 times, and then the BBC croaked silent for five hours ). According to one former head of BBC news, a very similar give of words will be used for the Queen. The rehearsals for her are different to the other members of the family, he illustrated. Parties become upset, and envisage the unthinkable oddness of her absence. She is the only monarch that most of us have ever known, he remarked. The royal guideline will be issued on the screen. The national carol will play. You will remember where you were.


When parties think of a contemporary royal death in Britain, they think, inescapably, of Diana. The proceed of the Queen will be stupendous by comparison. It may not be as nakedly emotional, but its reach is likely to be wider, and its ramifications most dramatic. It will be quite fundamental, as one former courtier told me.

Part of the effect will come from the overwhelming weight of things happening. The number for modern royal funerals is more or less familiar( Dianas was based on Tay Bridge, the plan for the Queen mother ). But the death of a British monarch, and the accession negotiations of a brand-new head of state, is a ritual that is passing out of living recall: three of the Queens last four prime ministers were born after she came to the throne. When she succumbs, both houses of parliament will be recalled, parties will go home from project early, and helicopters aviators will announce the report to their passengers. In the nine epoches that follow( in London Bridge organize reports, these are known as D-day, D +1 and so on) “theres been” ritual proclamations, a four-nation tour by the brand-new king, 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 mental imagine for the country that she leaves behind. The Queen is Britains last living link with our former greatness the nations id, its problematic self-regard which is still defined by our victory in the second world war. One passing historian, who love most people I interviewed for this article declined to be called, stressed that the parting for this countrys longest-serving monarch is likely to be impressive. Oh, she will get everything, he remarked. We were all told that the burial 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, respond, kingdoms permit gigantic passings of age a century, in some cases to become entwined with private individuals. The second Elizabethan age is likely to be remembered as a predominate of uninterrupted national refuse, and even, if she lives long enough and Scotland varies the union, as one of disintegration. Life and politics at the end of her rule is likely to be unrecognisable from their glory and innocence at its inaugurating. We dont accuse 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 segment 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 home and comfortably within the pale of the British Empire. The princess sits at a counter with a microphone. The darknes of a tree plays on her shoulder. The camera adapts three or four times as she talks, and on every occasion, she blinks temporarily, divulging minuscule twinklings of upper-class sorenes. 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 great imperial kinfolk to which we all belong, she announces, enunciating vowels and a conception of “the worlds” that have both vanished.

It is not unusual for a country to succumb to a state of prohibition as a long assembly in its history is about to end. When “its become” public that Queen Victoria was dying, at persons under the age of 82, a widow for half their own lives, startled sorrow swept the two countries, wrote her biographer, Lytton Strachey. In the mindset of her themes, the queens mortality had now become unimaginable; and with her downfall, everything was abruptly at risk, placed in the mitts of an older 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 latitudes with the unease that we will seem at the death of Elizabeth II are obvious, but without the relief of Britains status in 1901 as “the worlds” more successful country. We have to have narrations for royal affairs, the historian told me. In the Victorian predominate, everything get better and better, and big and big. We surely cant tell that legend today.

The result is a huge objection to even thinking about let alone talking or used to describe what happens when the Queen dies. We avoid the subject as we avoid it in our “families “. It seems like good manners, but it is also suspicion. The reporting for this article concerned dozens of interrogations with broadcasters, government officials, and varied palace staff, various of whom have worked on London Bridge instantly. Almost all insisted on terminated secrecy. This meeting never happened, I was told after one conversation in a gentlemans club on Pall Mall. Buckingham Palace, meanwhile, has a programme of not commenting on funeral arrangements for members of the royal family.

And yet this taboo, like much to do with the empire, is not entirely rational, and masks a parallel reality. The next great sever in Britains national life has, in fact, been planned to the minute. It concerns matters of major public important, will be paid for by us, and is obviously going to happen. According to the Office of National Statistics, a British girl who reaches persons under the age of 91 as the Queen will in April has an average life expectancy of four years and three months. The Queen is approaching the end of her predominate at the scheduled time of maximum disquiet about Britains place in “the worlds”, at a moment when internal political strains are close to breaking her country apart. Her death will likewise secrete its own destabilising actions: in the accession negotiations of Queen Camilla; in the optics of a brand-new king who is already an old boy; and in the future of the Commonwealth, the claimed invention primarily of her realize.( The Queens title of Head of the Commonwealth is not hereditary .) Australias prime minister and president of the opposition parties both require the country to become a republic.

Coping with the course these events fall is the next huge challenge of the House of Windsor, the last European royal family to perform coronations and to persevere with the complicity of a willing public in the sorcery of the whole initiative. That is why the planning for the Queens death and its ceremonial consequence is so extensive. Succession is part of the job. It is an occasion for ordering to be affirmed. Queen Victoria had written down the substance of her coffin by 1875. The Queen mother burial was rehearsed for 22 years. Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, developed a wintertime and a summertime menu for his funeral lunch. London Bridge is the Queens departure program. Its biography, as one of her courtiers remarked. It will be 10 epoches of sorrow and spectacle in which, instead like the fascinating reflect of the empire 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 spray from the RAFs No 32 squadron, known as the Royal Flight, will take off from Northolt, at the countries of the western edge of London, with a coffin on board. The royal morticians, Leverton& Sons, preserve what the hell is call a firstly call 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 succumbs there, their own bodies will come to London by automobile after a day or two.

The most elaborated schemes are for what happens if she delivers away at Balmoral, where she invests three months of the year. This will prompt an initial ripple of Scottish practice. First, the Queens 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 feathers in their bonnets. Then the coffin is likely to be carried up the Royal Mile to St Giless cathedral, for a service of receipt, before being put on board the Royal Train at Waverley station for a sad progression down the east coast mainline. Crowds are expected at level crossings and on station pulpits the length of the country from Musselburgh and Thirsk in the north, to Peterborough and Hatfield in the south to throw blooms on the proceed learn.( Another locomotive will follow behind, to clear debris from the trails .) 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 corner of the Quadrangle, its interior quadrangle. There will be an altar, the pall, the royal guideline, and four Grenadier Guards, their bearskin hats inclined, their rifles pointing to the floor, standing watch. In the corridors, staff employed by the Queen for more than 50 years will pass, following procedures they know by heart. Your professionalism takes over because there is a occupation to be done, said one veteran of royal funerals. There is likely to be no time for sadness, or to worry about what happens next. Charles will bring in many of his own staff where reference is accedes. Bear in memory, the courtier remarked, everybody who works in the palace is actually on acquired time.

Outside, report gangs will assemble on pre-agreed places next to Canada Gate, at the bottom of Green Park .( Special fibre-optic cable lopes for the purposes of the Mall, for broadcasting British state moments .) I have got in front of me an instruction book a couple of inches thick, said one Tv administrator, who will handle 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 Pauls every minute for two hours when the report was announced. The buzzers at Westminster Abbey seemed and the Sebastopol bell, taken from the Black Sea city during the Crimean war and rung simply on the party of a sovereigns death, was fee 56 times at Windsor formerly for per year of George VIs life from 1.27 pm until 2.22 pm.

The 18 th Duke of Norfolk, the Earl Marshal, will be in charge. Norfolks have overseen royal funerals since 1672. During the 20 th century, a give of offices in St Jamess Palace was always earmarked for their exploit. On the morning of George VIs death, in 1952, these were being revamped. By five oclock in the afternoon, the scaffolding was down and the areas were re-carpeted, rendered and furnished with telephones, lightings and heating. During London Bridge, the Lord Chamberlains office in the palace is likely to be the centre of operations. The current version of the program 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 passed the pallbearers at Churchills funeral.( He declined to speak with me .) The authorities team coordinating the police, security, transportation and armed forces will assemble at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Person will have the job of engraving 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 narrow stratum of the British gentry and civil service, the skill of planning major funerals the solemnity, the excessive detail is expressed in a certain national fitnes. Thirty-one parties gathered for the first convene to contrive 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 accorded for years in different languages of administrative euphemism, about a possible future rite; a future problem; some inescapable party, the timing of which, however, is quite uncertain.

The firstly plans for London Bridge date back to the 1960 s, before being refined in detail at the beginning of this century. Since then, there have been rallies two or three times a year for the various actors concerned( around a dozen government 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 of all the countries is looking to us to do this again perfectly, said one, and we will. Projects are modernized and age-old versions are destroyed. Arcane and highly specific acquaintance is shared. It takes 28 times at a slow rally from the doors of St Jamess to the entering of Westminster Hall. The coffin must have a incorrect eyelid, to hampered the crown jewel, with a rim at least three inches high.

In theory, everything is settled. But in the hours after the Queen has travelled, there will be items that simply Charles can decide. Everything has to be signed off by the Duke of Norfolk and the King, one official told me. The Ruler of Wales has waited longer to assume 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 working day between “his fathers” death and funeral, I had the uneasy hotshot of being left alone on a enormous stage. In recent years, much of the work on London Bridge placed emphasis 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 realize of a king. Charles is scheduled to represent 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 swamped with calls during the firstly 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 age, will be that business should continue as usual. This wont necessarily happen. If the Queen succumbs during Royal Ascot, the satisfy will be scrapped. The Marylebone Cricket Club is said to hold insurance for a same aftermath if she delivers away during a home exam match at Lords. After the death of George VI in 1952, rugby and hockey fixtures were called off, while football matches croaked onward. Love sang Abide With Me and “the member states national” carol before kick off. The National Theatre will close if the report destroys before 4pm, and abide open if not. All activities, 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 person. It advised stockpiling notebooks of condolence loose leaf, so inappropriate letters can be removed to be placed in town hall, libraries and museums the day after the Queen dies. Mayors will mask their adornments( maces is likely to be shrouded with pitch-black suitcases ). In county metropolis, big screens will be erected so crowds be going along with affairs taking place in London, and flags of all possible descriptions, including beach flags( but not crimson peril flags ), is likely to be hovered at half mast. The country must be seen to know what it is doing. The most recent give of educations to embassies 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 large-hearted kinfolk. European royal class will be put up at the palace; the residual will stay at Claridges hotel.

Parliament will meet. If possible, both houses will sit within hours of the monarchs death. In 1952, the Commons gathered for two minutes before noon. We cannot at this moment do more than register a spontaneous phrase of our sorrow, remarked Churchill, who was prime minister. The house met again in the night, when MPs began cuss the oath of allegiance to the brand-new sovereign. Themes rained in on the part of parliament and chairwomen. The US House of Representatives adjourned. Ethiopia announced 2 week of sorrowing. In the House of Lords, the two thrones will be replaced by a single chair and a cushion bearing the golden drawing 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 proclaimed king. The Accession Council, which convenes in the red-carpeted Entre Room of St Jamess Palace, long predates assembly. The convene, 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 prime minister of the Solomon Islands, are invited but there is opening for only 150 or so. In 1952, the Queen was one of two women present at her proclamation.

The clerk, a senior civil servant called 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 Sanctified and Glorious memory and Charles will carry out the first official duties of his predominate, cuss to keep the Church in Scotland, and speaking of the heavy encumbrance that is now his.

At dawn, the central window overlooking Friary Court, on the palaces eastern figurehead, will have been removed and the roof outside covered in crimson find. After Charles has spoken, trumpeters from the Life Guards, wearing crimson plumes on their helmets, will step outside, return three bombs and the Garter King of Arms, a genealogist called Thomas Woodcock, will stand on the balcony and starting the ritual proclamations of King Charles III. I will represent the first one, remarked Woodcock, whose official salary of 49. 07 has not been raised since the 1830 s. In 1952, four newsreel cameras recorded the moment. This time there will be an gathering of billions. Parties will look for auguries in the climate, in birds running overhead for Charless reign. At Elizabeths accession, everyone was convinced that the brand-new queen was very mollify. The clique of the Coldstream Guards will play “the member states national” carol on containers the hell is wrap in pitch-black cloth.

The proclamations will only just be getting started. From St Jamess, the Garter King of Armsand half a dozen other presages, looking like extras from an expensive Shakespeare production, will go by vehicle to the statue of Charles I, at the base of Trafalgar Square, which marks Londons official midpoint, and read out the report again. A 41 -gun salute virtually seven times of cannon will be fired from Hyde Park. “They dont have” concession to modernity in this, one former palace official told me. There is likely to be cocked hats and ponies everywhere. One of the concerns of the broadcasters is what the crowds will look like as they seek to record these instants of biography. The entire world “re gonna be all” murderou doing this, said one report administration, holding up his phone in front of his face.

On the age-old border of the City of London, outside the Royal Courts of Justice, a crimson line will hang across the road. The City Marshal, a former police detective chief superintendent called 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 bulletins: 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 brand-new sovereign according to neighbourhood custom-built. In York, the Mayor created a toast to the Queen from a cup made of solid gold.

The same rites will take place, but this time all over the brand-new king will likewise go out to meet his parties. From his decree at St Jamess, Charles will instantly tour the two countries, calling Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff to attend services of thought for his mother and to convene the leaders of the devolved authorities. There will likewise be civic receipts, for schoolteachers, doctors and other everyday folk, which are intended to reflect the altered atmosphere of his predominate. From day one, it is about the people rather than merely the leaders being part of this new empire, said one of his advisers, who described the plans for Charless progress as: Lots of not being in a automobile, but actually walking around. In the capital city, the pomp of royal death and accession will be archaic and bewilder. But from another municipality every day, “theres been” likeness of the brand-new king sorrowing alongside his subjects, acquiring his almighty, lonely character in the public imagination. It is see and see now, the adviser said.


For a long time, the skill of royal spectacle was for other, weaker publics: Italians, Russians, and Habsburgs. British ritual moments 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 secretary, contracted rheumatic delirium and the bishop of London croaked. We never determined so motley, so insulting, so ill-managed a organization of persons, reported the Times on the burial 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 singing was nasty; and the royal jewellers attained the coronation sound for the wrong digit. Some nations have a gift for liturgical, the Marquess of Salisbury wrote in 1860. In England the case is exactly the reverse.

What we think of as the ancient rites of the empire is largely crafted in the late 19 th century, toward the end of Victorias reign. Courtiers, politicians and constitutional theorists such as Walter Bagehot worried about the dire spate of the Empress of India trooping around Windsor in her donkey go-cart. If the crown 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 to like state and show.

Obsessed by death, Victoria contrived her own funeral with some mode. But it was her son, Edward VII, who is largely responsible for revitalizing royal expose. One courtier praised his curious influence of visualising a parade. He became the state opening of parliament and armed drills, like the Trooping of the Colour, into full fancy-dress moments, and at his own proceed, resurrected the medieval practice of lying in state. Hundreds of thousands of subjects filed past his coffin in Westminster Hall in 1910, granting a brand-new gumption of intimacy to the body of the sovereign. By 1932, George V was a national father figure, handing the first royal Christmas speech to the commonwealth 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 empire were replaced by an idealised family and historic pomp devised in the 20 th. In 1909, Kaiser Wilhelm II boasted about the 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 quite does it like the British.

The Queen, by all details a practical and unsentimental person, understands the theatrical influence of the crown. I have to be seen to be accepted, 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 tendernes. I think there will be a huge and very genuine outpouring of deep spirit, remarked Andrew Roberts, the historian. It will be all about her, and it has certainly is in relation to us. There will be an urge to stand in the street, to see it with your own eyes, to be part of a mass. The cumulative effect is likely to be republican. I suppose the Queens death will intensify patriotic pities, one constitutional intellectual told me, and therefore fit the Brexit mood, if you like, and intensify the feeling that there is nothing to learn from foreigners.

The wave of find have been instrumental in swamp the awkward facts of the succession.The reclamation of Camilla as the Duchess of Cornwall has been a quiet success for the empire, but her accession as queen will experiment how far that has come. Since she marriage Charles in 2005, Camilla has been officially known as Princess Consort, a formulation that has no historical or law gist.( Its bullshit, one former courtier told me, describing it as a sop to Diana .) The myth will end when Elizabeth II succumbs. Under common law, Camilla will become queen the designation ever given to the spouses of tycoons. There is no alternative. She is queen whatever she is called, as one scholar threw it. If she is called Princess Consort there is an implication that she is not quite up to it. Its 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 June, so she will be present .) Confirmation of her designation will form part of the firstly stormy 24 hours.

Crowds
Crowds watch naval ratings attracting the gun vehicle bearing the coffin of Sir Winston Churchill to St Pauls Cathedral. Picture: PA

The Commonwealth is the other knot. In 1952, at the last accession, “theres only” eight members of the brand-new entity taking shape in the outline of the British Empire. The Queen was the head of state in seven members of them, and she was proclaimed Head of the Commonwealth to accommodate Indias lone status as a republic. Sixty-five years later, there are 36 republics in the organisation, which the Queen has attended assiduously throughout her predominate, 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, remarked Philip Murphy, administrator of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London.

For several years, the palace has been discreetly requested to ensure Charless succession as head of the bloc, in the absence of further obvious option. Last-place October, Julia Gillard, the former prime minister of Australia, been demonstrated that Christopher Geidt, the Queens private secretary, had visited her in February 2013 to question her to support the idea. Canada and New Zealand have since fallen into line, but the designation is unlikely to be included in King Charless decree. Instead it will be part of the discreet international lobbying that takes place as London crowds up with diplomats and chairwomen in the working day after the Queens death. There will be serious, busy receipts at the palace. We are not speak about entertaining. But you have to show some structure of respect for the fact that they have come, said one courtier. Such feasting and commingling, with my father still unburied, seemed to me unfitting and heartless, wrote Edward VIII in his memoirs. The testify must go on. Business will mix with grief.


There will be a thousand final readyings in the nine epoches before the funeral. Soldiers will saunter the processional directions. Devotions will be rehearsed. On D +1, Westminster Hall is likely to be locked, cleaned and its stone floor covered with 1,500 metres of carpet. Candles, their wicks already burnt in, is likely to 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 fannies 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 roof of Admiralty Arch. Nothing can be done to protect the bulb , noted the Ministry of Works. The Queens 10 pallbearers will be chosen, and perform carrying their encumbrance out of spate in a barracks somewhere. British royals are buried in lead-lined coffins. Dianas weighed a quarter of a ton.

The population will slither between sadness and irritability. In 2002, 130 parties complained to the BBC about its insensitive coverage of the Queen mother death; another 1,500 complained that Casualty was moved to BBC2. The Tv schedules in the working day after the Queens death will change again. Comedy wont be taken off the BBCcompletely, but most wit will. There is likely to be Dads Armyreruns, but no Have I Got News For You.

People will be touchy either way. After the death of George VI, in a society much more Christian and deferential than this one, a Mass Observation survey been demonstrated that parties objected to the endless mushy music, the forelock-tugging coverage. Dont they think of old folk, sick parties, invalids? one 60 -year old woman asked. Its been appalling for them, all this mist. In a table in Notting Hill, one boozer remarked, Hes simply 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 one-third of us have dreamed about the Queen she stands for power 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 state for four full epoches. The procession from Buckingham Palace is likely to be the first major armed parade of London Bridge: down the Mall, through Horse Guards, and past the Cenotaph. More or little the same slow rally, from St Jamess Palace for the Queen Mother in 2002, concerned 1,600 personnel and elongated for half a mile. The strips played Beethoven and a gun was burnt every minute from Hyde Park. The route is thought to hold around a million people. The plan 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 white 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 wheels come to a stop, as one broadcaster threw it.

Inside the dorm, “theres been” psalms as the coffin is placed on a catafalque draped in purple. King Charleswill be back from his tour of the home 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 creek past the Queen for 23 hours a day. For George VI, 305,000 themes called. The pipeline was four miles long. The palace is expecting half a million for the Queen. There will be a wondrous queue the ultimate British ritual project, 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 skip to the front.

Under the chestnut roof of the dorm, everything will seem fantastically well-ordered and consoling and designed to within a quarter of an inch, because it is. A 47 -page internal report gathered after George VIs funeral suggested attaching metal rollers to the catafalque, to smooth the arrival of the coffin when it 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 everyone will 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 is likely to be revamped every day. For Churchills lying in state in 1965, a replica 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 resuscitated The Princes 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 dorm, the pearls will be taken off the coffin and cleaned. In 1952, it took three jewellers virtually two hours to remove all the junk.( The Stellar of Africa, on the royal sceptre, is the second-largest slashed diamond in “the worlds” .) Most of the two countries is likely to be waking to a day off. Shops will close, or go to bank holiday hours. Some will display pictures of the Queen in their windows. The stock market will not open. The nighttime 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 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 party 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 obscures made of covered bricks, will search for the likeness 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 openings, at 11 oclock, the two countries will fall silent. The clatter will still. Learn terminals will be terminated bulletins. Bus will be suspended and motorists will get out at the side of the road. In 1952, at the same moment, all of the passengers on a flight from London to New York rose from their fannies and stood, 18,000 paws above Canada, and bent their heads.

Back then, the stakes were clearer, or at least they seemed that course. A stammering king had been part of the embattled British way of life that had subsisted an existential war. The crown that Churchill laid remarked: For Gallantry. The BBC commentator in 1952, the man who read the rubies and the rites for the commonwealth, was Richard Dimbleby, the first British reporter to recruit Bergen-Belsen and communicate its frights, seven years before. How true-life tonight that statement spoken by an unknown boy of his beloved leader, sighed Dimbleby, describing the lying in state to millions. The sunset of his death tinged the world sky.

The trumpets and the ancientness were evidence of our existence; and the tycoons young daughter would govern the treaty. These royal ceremonies represented propriety, tradition, and public office, in contradiction to the ghastliness of Nazism, as one historian told me. The empire had transactions influence for theater, and in the aftermath of war, 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 subject will be what the buzzers and the insigniums and the presages represent now. At what detail does the solemnity of an imperial empire become ridiculous amid the requirements of a diminished commonwealth? The worry, a historian remarked, is that it is just circus animals.

If the empire exists as theater, then this mistrust is the part of the drama. Can they still pull it off? Knowing all that is we know in 2017, how can it possibly hold that a single person might contain the mind of a commonwealth? The detail of the empire is not to answer such questions. It is to continue. What a lot of “peoples lives” we waste in acting, the Queen Mother used to say.

Inside the Abbey, the archbishop will speak. During devotions, the broadcasters will refrain from demonstrating royal faces. When the coffin rises again, the pallbearers will place it on the dark-green gun vehicle that was used for the Queens father, and “his fathers” and “his fathers” father, and 138 junior sailors will drop their heads to their chests and drag. The tradition of being hauled by the Royal Navy began in 1901 when Victorias funeral ponies, all white, threatened to bar at Windsor Station and a waiting contingent of ratings stepped in to gather the coffin instead.

The procession will swing 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 flew over the cortege for his wife and dipped their offstages. The crowd 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 doors will be closed and cameras will stop broadcasting. Inside the chapel, the hoist to the royal roof will pitch, and King Charles will drop a handful of crimson land from a silver-tongued bowl.

This article was amended on 16 March 2017 to chastise some minor missteps including the fact that three of the Queens 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 largest diamond in “the worlds”, but the second-largest cut diamond; and that the word sons was initially missing from the second largest sentence in this moving: 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 shooting pony.

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