On September 8, 2022, Buckingham Palace announced the death of Queen Elizabeth II. She was 96 years old at the time of her death and had sat on the throne for 70 years. And by any metric, she led one amazing life.
When Elizabeth’s father died in 1952, Elizabeth became Queen at the tender age of 25. At the time, she had only been married to Prince Philip for five years, and she had focused more on serving as a mother to her two young children. And just like that, she had to serve as a mother to an entire country.
Over the coming decades, Elizabeth became a beloved icon to her biggest fans and a source of controversial decisions to her harshest critics. It was tough to know who the real Elizabeth was in life, and her death leaves the world empty and shaken.
What happened right after she died, and what will happen next?
What happened immediately after the Queen’s death?
It’s a little grim, but Buckingham Palace has plans and procedures in place for many of the members of the Royal Family in case of death. So while the announcement that Queen Elizabeth had died came as a shock to the world (especially only hours after it was reported that she was ill), Buckingham Palace moved pretty quickly once she was gone. According to the Daily Mail, the palace lowered its flags to half-mast after the Queen died.
“London Bridge is down” was the government’s code words to signal that the Queen had died. Now, Operation London Bridge was a go. This 10-day plan for Queen Elizabeth’s death serves multiple purposes.
First, it helps Britain complete its transition of power. Second, it provides the people with sufficient time to mourn, especially because the Queen’s body will lie in state for three days. Considering the crowds that immediately gathered outside the palace gates, we can assume the national mourning will be very intense.
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A double rainbow appeared after the Queen died
In many ways, the Queen was even more powerful as a symbol than she was as a monarch. It is only fitting, then, that her death was marked by a symbol that her supporters found particularly meaningful.
As Bloomberg reports, supporters gathered outside Buckingham Palace after the death of the Queen reported seeing a double rainbow appear over the palace. Supporters outside the gates immediately began snapping and sharing photos of the rare sight of a double rainbow.
The more sentimental fans online suggested that the two rainbows might represent Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip, now joined together in the afterlife.
While two rainbows appeared, sadly there were two key members of the Royal Family who could not be with the Queen when she died.
Kate Middleton and Prince Harry weren’t there when the Queen died
As you might expect, most of the Royal Family traveled to Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s home in Scotland, to be with the Queen in her final hours and to support one another after her death. However, there were two notable absences: neither Kate Middleton nor Prince Harry were present when the Queen died. So, why couldn’t they be there in the Queen’s final hours?
According to Town & Country, Kate Middleton stayed in Windsor to be with her and William’s children for their first day of school at the prestigious Lambrook School in Berkshire. Their family is relatively new to Windsor, and Kate likely thought it important she and the children attend the “settling in afternoon” event at the school.
As for Prince Harry, he and Meghan were actually already in England to attend the WellChild Awards in London when news broke that the Queen was not well and the family was gathering at Balmoral to be with her. Harry tried to fly out to Scotland to wish his grandmother one last goodbye. Sadly, Queen Elizabeth died before he arrived.
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When is Queen Elizabeth’s funeral?
There is much pomp and circumstance surrounding the death of the Queen. When, though, is her actual funeral going to be held?
According to The Guardian, the actual funeral will take place 10 days after the death of the Queen. This is the culmination of the 10-day period of mourning (Operation London Bridge) that we mentioned earlier.
The funeral itself will be a special state event at Westminster Abbey on September 19 attended by family members and assorted dignitaries. Afterward, the Queen will be laid to rest at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle within the royal vault.
But while the Queen won’t be laid for 10 days, her son Charles immediately became King upon her death. In fact, he wasn’t the only member of the Royal Family to receive a new title when she died.
Charles, Camilla, William, and Kate received new titles
Above all else, the monarchy is a hierarchy. This hierarchy determines which titles different royals have. And upon the death of Queen Elizabeth, Charles, Camilla, William, and Kate all received new titles.
Charles gets the most obvious title change. Rather than being Prince Charles, he is now known as King Charles III. His wife Camilla, the former Duchess of Cornwall, gained the title of Queen Consort.
“The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of great sadness for me and all members of my family. We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother,” Charles said in a statement after Elizabeth’s death, which already referred to him as the king. “My family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.”
What about Prince William and Kate? According to CNN, they have gained the titles of Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, in addition to their previous titles of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, which they still hold.
Will William get to add “Prince of Wales” to his list of titles? Many expect it will happen, but William will have to wait until that title is gifted to him by King Charles.
As for Kate, she may be granted the title Princess of Wales. If that happens, she will be the first person to hold that title since Princess Diana.
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When is King Charles’ coronation?
Prince Charles became King Charles III immediately after the Queen’s death. However, he must still be officially coronated. And when is that coronation going to be?
The coronation ceremony is when the new monarch is officially crowned. But the ceremony is not scheduled yet, and People reports that it will likely not take place for many months. This gives the public sufficient mourning time beyond the 10-day window of Operation London Bridge so that everyone is better ready to accept a new monarch.
And this kind of delayed coronation is nothing new. Elizabeth became Queen as soon as her own father died in 1952, but she wasn’t crowned until 1953. In this case, Charles’ delayed coronation helps carry on yet another family tradition.