Cover Queen Elizabeth II attends an Armed Forces Act of Loyalty Parade. (Photo: Getty Images)

Her son, Charles, formerly known as the Prince of Wales, has now ascended to the throne and will be known as King Charles III. At 73, he will be the oldest person to become King in British history

The United Kingdom (UK), along with the rest of the world, are in mourning after it was announced that Queen Elizabeth II died late last night. While her death certainly came as a shock to many considering how active the Queen was in her duties up till this week, preparations for her death were always in place.

Procedures, funeral arrangements and succession plans have been prepared years in advance and were also signed off by the monarch herself. These plans, formally dubbed Operation London Bridge, would immediately kick off the moment the monarch dies.

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Among the first things that happened was Prince Charles automatically becoming the King. He is now head of state in the UK and 14 other Commonwealth realms including Australia and Canada. Other members of the royal family have also seen changes to their royal titles. 

Over time, we will see more significant differences such as changes to the national anthem in the UK, modifications to the country’s banknotes as well as estate changes within the royal family itself. Below, we take a look at what happens now that the Queen has died.

King Charles III begins his reign

The first thing that happened upon the death of Queen Elizabeth was that Prince Charles became King. He is now known as King Charles III and rules as head of state in the UK as well as 14 other Commonwealth realms.

He was proclaimed the new sovereign upon his mother’s death in a closed meeting that was attended by hundreds of dignitaries and members of the Privy Council, which is a panel of royal advisors.

The Garter King of Arms will read the Proclamation from the palace balcony and gun salutes will then echo across the capital. The proclamations will again be announced at the Royal Exchange in the financial district and in the capitals of the nations. This is expected to take place this Saturday.

He is also now the head of the British Armed Forces, the judiciary and the civil service, and he is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. 

The second part of the Accession Council will be attended by the king and other senior royals. King Charles III will take a series of oaths and swear his allegiance to the Church of Scotland.

Other Members of the Royal Family Will Change Titles

Now that Charles has become King, there have been significant changes to the line of succession in the royal family. For one, King Charles III’s wife, Camilla, has now taken on the title of Queen Consort, a wish that Queen Elizabeth herself articulated. 

Prince William, who is the eldest son of King Charles III, is now first in line to the throne. He will also now be known as the Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge, a change that will apply to all members of his household. Kate Middleton is now known as the Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge. Prince William will also inherit the Duchy of Cornwall, an estate of 150,000 acres that generates a yearly income of about US$23 million.

His eldest son, Prince George of Cornwall and Cambridge, will now become second in line to the throne while his younger sister, Princess Charlotte of Cornwall and Cambridge will be third in line to the throne. Prince William’s youngest son, Prince Louis of Cornwall and Cambridge, is now fourth in line to the throne.

Considering that Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex as well as his wife, Megan Markle and children, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor and Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor have stepped away from royal duties, their status will remain unchanged for now. However, Archie and Lilibet now have the option to be given the title of Prince and Princess respectively if their parents so wish.

A Funeral Will Take Place in Addition to Gun Salutes

As monarch, Queen Elizabeth will have a grand funeral service. Here’s what will happen.

In the first 24 hours following the Queen’s death, there will be 96 gun salutes that will go off across London. This is one round for every year of the Queen’s life.

Since the Queen died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, arrangments will be made in the coming days for her to be transported back to England. 

Before anything else can happen, King Charles III will have to meet with the Earl Marshal who oversees ceremonial events to sign off on the funeral plans. These plans have already been made, approved and improved upon so it is likely that this will go on without a hitch. 

The Lord Chamberlain’s Committee, which is responsible for running the Royal Household, will then meet to make sure that everything is ready for the next two weeks. 

The coffin will then leave Balmoral by road to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. There will be a ceremonial procession from Holyrood along the Royal Mile to St Giles’ Cathedral for a service attended by members of the royal family.

The coffin will then be flown to London where it is expected to arrive at Buckingham Palace a few hours before the big ceremony planned in London.

The Queen’s coffin will first be taken from the palace to Westminster Hall for the beginning of five days of lying in state. The coffin will be transported on a gun cartridge and there will be a short service on arrival. 

During the five days, members of the public will be able to pay their respects to the late Queen. 

Her coffin will rest on a raised platform and be guarded around the clock by units from the Sovereign’s Bodyguard, Foot Guards or the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.

The state funeral itself will be held at Westminster Abbey and the coffin will be taken there from Westminster Hall in a procession. There will be a two-minute silence across the nation and after a service, a large ceremonial procession will accompany the coffin to Hyde Park, where it will be transferred from gun carriage to state hearse and travel to Windsor.

After a procession through Windsor, a committal service will be held at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and the coffin will be lowered into the royal vault.

The Country’s Banknotes Will Be Progressively Changed

Now that the Queen has passed on, one major change the UK will see are changes to its currency and stamps. 

When King Charles III’s official portraits are taken, banks will progressively begin rolling out new notes and coins with the King’s image. This process could take a number of years and tell then, notes with the Queen’s likeness will continue to be legal tender, according to The Bank of England.

It is also expected that new stamps will be printed depicting King Charles III.

The National Anthem Will Change

For 70 years, the national anthem was, God saves the Queen. Now, the first verse of the song will now be recited as: God save our gracious King. Long live our noble King. God save the King. Send him victorious, Happy and glorious, Long to reign over us, God save the King.

The Queen’s Corgis Will Likely Go to Family

The Queen has long held a soft spot for dogs and in particular, corgis. So much so that the breed is now associated with royalty. 

Currently, it is believed that the Queen has four dogs including two corgis named Muick and Sandy, a Dorgi called Candy, and two Cocker Spaniels. While it is not clear yet what will happen to them, it is expected that they will go to her children.


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