Queen Elizabeth II has died — so what happens now?
Specific dates have yet to be nailed down and planning is still underway, with answers expected in the coming days. But established procedures and early press releases can help clear some of the fog from the commemorations to come.
In Canada, the queen’s death marks the beginning of 10 days of mourning.
Replete with special events, ceremonies and symbolic gestures, here’s what Canadians can expect in the days ahead.
The day of the queen's death
On Thursday, the day of the queen’s death, high-profile figures donned black clothing while flags across the country were lowered to half-mast.
Flags will remain at half-mast across the country until sunset on the day of the funeral — with the exception of the day King Charles III is proclaimed.
Within hours of the queen’s death, many political leaders issued statements and speeches expressing their sadness at the news. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor General Mary Simon both gave short, heartfelt tributes.
“She was one of my favourite people in the world and I will miss her so,” Trudeau said, speaking in a press conference on Thursday.
Simon, meanwhile, shared a quote the queen had told her after her appointment as Governor General.
“Her Majesty said to me, ‘be gentle with yourself,'” Simon said. “I have come to understand her words to mean that while we should work hard on the issues that matter, we should also take time to pause, to be patient, to lead with understanding and respect.”
Books of condolences
Before Thursday’s end, the Department of Canadian Heritage opened up a book of condolences so Canadians can share their memories of the queen and their sadness at her loss.
Canadians can write a short tribute to the queen in the online book of condolences. The government has also set up alternative options, such as an email address dedicated to receiving condolences for those who might wish to send a more private message.
As of Friday morning, most cities across Canada have also opened up in-person and online books of condolences for Canadians to sign. These books are expected to remain open until the day of the funeral, which has yet to be announced.
Canadians can look at their local city council’s website for more details, should they wish to partake in the tribute.
The proclamation of accession
Reports out of the United Kingdom say King Charles III will be proclaimed on Saturday.
When that happens, an Accession Council will be convened at St. James’ Palace in London. The Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ralph Goodale, will be invited to attend and sign the accession proclamation, according to an article by Nathan Tidridge, vice-president of the Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada.
While no details have been formally announced, Tidridge added that the Canadian Privy Council will also likely hold an accession proclamation ceremony, and the provinces should hold similar events.
Symbols of sympathy
During the official 10-day period of mourning, portraits of the queen and flags displayed indoors “may be draped with black ribbon,” wrote Tidridge.
Others may also wear symbols of mourning. According to the City of Ottawa, a black ribbon lapel pin is an “acceptable symbol” to wear during the period of mourning and the day of the funeral, if Canadians wish to do so.
Other small tributes will be popping up across the country. For example, the City of Ottawa has produced a gallery of photos of the queen, which will be on display within city hall. Anglican churches in Ottawa have also planned to ring their bells 96 times at noon on Friday, in honour of the queen.
Will buildings be closing?
According to a City of Ottawa memo obtained by Global News, there will be “no federal, provincial, or municipal closures of any buildings or establishments.”
That means there has been no federal directive to shut down official buildings.
However, Canadians might wish to check with their local city council website, or call their favourite business, to ensure all services are available this week.
The day of Queen Elizabeth II's funeral
The date of the funeral has not yet been announced, leaving specifics in terms of timing up in the air. Traditionally, it is held 10 or 11 days after the death of the monarch — suggesting the likely but unconfirmed date will be either Sept. 18 or 19.
When the date of the funeral is known, Canadians can expect that to also be the date of Canada’s national commemorative ceremony.
That ceremony will be held in Ottawa at Christ Church Cathedral, according to the Canadian heritage department. Government officials, dignitaries and “representatives of organizations with whom Her Majesty had a close connection,” including charities and military regiments, will be invited.
The solemn event will be broadcast live and made available to watch online.
The day will begin with a memorial parade, with participants from the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. During the parade, there will be a gun salute — one round per year of the queen’s life, according to the department, which means 96 shots.
There will also be a fly-past of CF-18s over Parliament Hill and the cathedral where the ceremony will take place.
More details, including specific dates, are expected to be revealed in the coming days.