Skip to content
The queen has been around for a long, long time — living through the rule of everyone from Adolf Hitler to John F. Kennedy.
In the hours after the queen’s death, much will depend on the manner of her passing.
But if the death is sudden or unexpected, the news could get out immediately in an unplanned and uncontrolled fashion.
Either way, most staff members at the palace and associated institutions will be immediately sent home.
If the queen’s passing was expected, the news will spread at first via the main TV channels.
The BBC actively practices for the eventuality of the monarch’s passing so it won’t be caught unaware …
… but this can backfire.
All comedy programs will be canceled.
Businesses will close.
But it’s hard to predict how the government will react.
Flags will fly at half-mast, and Britain will go into shock.
There will be a brief resurrection of the British Empire.
It’s not clear what will happen at Britain’s overseas outposts.
Behind closed doors at the palace, an “Accession Council” will convene.
The new monarch will swear loyalty to Parliament at the council, and an “Access Proclamation” will be issued.
And politicians will swear allegiance to the new monarch.
Charles (or whoever the new monarch is) could change his name.
No, Prince William is not going to become king.
The queen’s body will “lie in state.”
There may be a new “Vigil of the Princes.”
There will be mass public grief — and perhaps even hysteria.
Given the queen’s stature and how intrinsically she is woven into the fabric of modern Britain, there is likely to be even greater public mourning for her passing.
This will be followed by an incredibly star-studded funeral.
The queen has been actively involved in planning parts of her funeral.
Billions of people around the world will watch the funeral.
We don’t know where the queen will be buried — but we can make some educated guesses.
A year later, it’s time for a coronation!
The coronation will cost Britain billions of pounds.
There will be hundreds of changes up and down the country in the weeks and months after the queen’s death.
New currency will be printed and minted immediately.
The British national anthem will change.
Police officers will need new uniforms — as will soldiers.
And plenty more will need to change.
These small changes matter more than you would expect.
As signs of the queen’s reign are slowly erased, she will also be memorialised.
The death of the queen might prompt the eventual end of the Commonwealth.
Australia has already flirted with the idea of becoming a republic, holding a referendum in 1999.
Depending on Charles’ reign, republicanism may grow in prominence in Britain too — but there’s no chance of Britain becoming a republic anytime soon.
Queen Elizabeth II is now a record-breaking ruler.
She’s 92 and lightening her workload accordingly.
Though the queen’s death is hopefully a long way off yet, it is definitely coming — and with it the end of an epic chapter in Britain’s history and the start of a strange new one.