The announcement came a day after the 96-year-old monarch canceled a meeting of her Privy Council and was told to rest. Doctors said earlier they were “concerned for Her Majesty’s health,” and the royal family rushed to her side at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the queen, Operation London Bridge and the royal succession.
What’s wrong with the queen? Was she sick?
Queen Elizabeth’s doctors have they were “concerned for Her Majesty’s health.”
For the past several months, she has struggled with mobility issues, causing her to skip events and postpone meetings at the suggestion of her doctors.
On Wednesday, the queen postponed a meeting of senior governmental advisers known as the Privy Council. A few days before, she decided to skip the Braemar Gathering, a popular Highland Games event she loves and attends every year. Her eldest son and heir Prince Charles, who normally accompanies the monarch to the Highland Games, attended in her stead.
Last week, the monarch also decided to formally appoint Britain’s new prime minister at Balmoral Castle rather than make the more than 800-mile round trip to London for the traditional ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
In February, the queen contracted COVIDduring which the palace said she experienced “cold-like symptoms.”
Who succeeds the queen?
With Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Prince Charles would become king and his wife, Camilla, formerly the Duchess of Cornwall, will become the Queen Consort, upon request made by Queen Elizabeth. (Charles was previously married to the late Princess Diana.)
“It is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service,” the queen said on the eve of the 70th anniversary of her accession to the British throne, according to the statement issued by Buckingham Palace.
Camilla’s future title, explained:What’s the difference between queen and ‘Queen Consort’?
After Charles, the line of succession turns to his older son, Prince William, followed by Will and Duchess Kate’s children. The succession is as follows:
Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales (Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s first-born son)
Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge (Charles and Diana’s first-born son)
Prince George of Cambridge (Will and Kate’s first-born son)
Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (Will and Kate’s second-born daughter)
Prince Louis of Cambridge (Will and Kate’s third-born son)
How old is Prince Charles?
Prince Charles is 73. When he succeeds the throne, he will be the oldest-recorded person to become a British monarch: King William IV was 64 when he was crowned in 1830.
Where is Balmoral Castle?
Balmoral Castle is the queen’s privately-owned residence in a remote highland area of Scotland. Queen Elizabeth spent much of her past two years at Windsor Castle, west of London, but usually spends about two months on holiday at Balmoral.
What is Operation London Bridge?
Operation London Bridge, as the queen’s funeral plan is known, gets a military-style name in part because the military is heavily involved in organizing and carrying out many of the processions and ceremonies.
Details of Operation London Bridge first leaked in The Guardian in May 2017, describing what would happen during the 10-day period from the day after the death and the funeral at Westminster Abbey followed by interment in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. In September 2021, another leak splashed into headlines, this time in Politico. Buckingham Palace declined to comment or confirm to USA TODAY any reports on the queen’s funeral plan. Based on the Guardian and Political reports, here are some of the things to expect:
- Day 1: At the moment of the sovereign’s death, her eldest son and heir, Prince Charles the Prince of Wales, instantly becomes Britain’s 42nd monarch since William the Conqueror in 1066. (The new king will likely pick Charles III as his reign name.)
- The late monarch’s private secretary will call the prime minister on a secure line to say the code phrase, “London Bridge is down,” followed by a number “cascade” of similar calls to cabinet officials and other high-ranking officials in the United Kingdom and in the 15 Commonwealth countries where the British sovereign is head of state.
- Day 2: The queen’s coffin will be transferred from the place of death to the throne room at Buckingham Palace overlooking the north-west corner of the Quadrangle interior courtyard.
- Days 3-5: The new king will receive Parliament’s motion of condolence at Westminster Hall, then depart on a tour of the kingdom to meet his people.
- Day 5: The procession of the coffin from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster will take place, followed by a service in Westminster Hall.
- Days 6-9: The queen lies in state at Westminster Hall.
- Day 10: The queen’s state funeral will be at Westminster Abbey. The day will be declared a Day of National Mourning and two minutes of silence will be marked across the nation.
How long has Elizabeth been queen?
Over the summer, the UK celebrated Queen Elizabeth’s platinum jubileehonoring her unprecedented 70 years on the throne.
The former Princess Elizabeth was 25 years old when she became queen. It was not expected she would inherit the throne but that changed in December 1936 when her uncle de ella, King Edward VIII, abdicated the throne. Her father of her, Prince Albert, the former Duke of York, became king and she, as his elder child of him at age 10, became the next in line.
Contributing: Maria Puente, Amy Haneline and Naledi Ushe, USA TODAY; and The Associated Press
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism