UK enters royal mourning after queen’s death

Buckingham Palace has announced that a period of royal mourning will be observed from today until seven days after the funeral of Queen Elizabeth.

The queen died yesterday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, aged 96.

The palace said royal mourning will be observed by members of the royal family, royal household staff and representatives of the royal Household on official duties, together with troops committed to ceremonial duties.

The date of the funeral has yet to be confirmed.

Royal Salutes will be fired in London this afternoon in Hyde Park by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and at the Tower of London by the Honourable Artillery Company, with one round being fired for each year of the queen’s life.

Royal residences – including The Queen’s Gallery and the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, and The Queen’s Gallery in Edinburgh – will close until after the funeral.

Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House, the queen’s private estates, will also close for this period.
Hillsborough Castle, the monarch’s official residence in Northern Ireland, will also be closed.

Guidance has been issued to members of the public who wish to leave floral tributes at royal residences.

Mourners at Buckingham Palace will be guided to lay floral tributes at dedicated sites in Green Park or Hyde Park, with flowers left outside the gates of the palace being moved to the Green Park floral tribute garden.

At Windsor Castle, floral tributes can be left at Cambridge Gate on the Long Walk, and these flowers will be brought inside the castle every evening and placed on the Castle Chapter grass on the south side of St George’s Chapel and Cambridge Drive.

At the Sandringham Estate, members of the public are encouraged to leave floral tributes at the Norwich Gates, while at Balmoral Castle floral tributes can be left at the main gate.

People at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Scotland are encouraged to give floral tributes to the wardens at the entrance to The Queen’s Gallery, and those flowers will be laid on the forecourt grass in front of the North Turret of the Palace.

At Hillsborough Castle, floral tributes can be laid on the Castle Forecourt in front of the main gates.

Flags at royal residences were at half mast yesterday and will remain half-masted until 8am on the morning after the final day of royal mourning.

The palace said the half-masting of flags at royal residences does not apply to the Royal Standard and the Royal Standard in Scotland when the king is in residence, as they are always flown at full mast.

Guidance on flags at other public buildings has been issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

There are no physical books of condolence at the royal residences.

An online book of condolence is available on the royal website.

Prime Minister Liz Truss will attend a service of prayer and reflection on the death of the queen at St Paul’s Cathedral this evening.

Members of the royal family are not expected to attend the 6pm service which will be open to the public and broadcast live by the BBC.

Audio of King Charles III’s televised address will be played inside the cathedral if it coincides with the service.

The cathedral said a total of 2,000 seats will be allocated to the public on a first-come-first-served basis.

A spokeswoman for the cathedral said Ms Truss, who will deliver a reading at the service, is expected to be joined by Lord Mayor Vincent Keaveny.

Andrew Tremlett, Dean Designate of St Paul’s Cathedral, will deliver the bidding, at the service.

Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London, as Dean of the Chapels Royal, will deliver the address, and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will deliver the blessing.

The cathedral said a half-muffled single bell will toll as the start of the service, while a half-muffled peal will be sounded at the end of the service.

Meanwhile, the UK government has said there is “no obligation” for events or sporting fixtures to be cancelled, or for entertainment venues to be closed, during the period of national mourning.

But official guidance suggests organisations may with to consider cancelling or postponing events or closing venues on the day of the state funeral “as a mark of respect”.

Such arrangements are “at the discretion of individual organisations”, it says.

The guidance, published by the Cabinet Office, adds: “If sporting fixtures or events are planned for the day of the state funeral, organisations may want to adjust the event timings so they do not clash with the timings of the funeral service and associated processions.

“As a mark of respect, and in keeping with the tone of national mourning, organisers may wish to hold a period of silence and/or play the national anthem at the start of events or sporting fixtures, and players may wish to wear black armbands.”

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