How Long After Queen Elizabeth’s Death Will Prince Charles Have to Wait to Become King?

On Sept. 8, Buckingham Palace released a statement that expressed concern for Queen Elizabeth‘s health. After Queen Elizabeth dies, her son Prince Charles will become the king of England. While it’s common knowledge that the prince will be the next monarch, many have questions about what will happen upon Her Majesty’s death and at what point Charles will ascend the throne. Here’s exactly what will happen upon Queen Elizabeth’s death.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles | Jonathan Brady/ AFP/ Getty Images

What will happen when Queen Elizabeth dies

Of course, no one knows how Queen Elizabeth will die. But as the Guardian noted, the palace envisions Her Majesty being surrounded by doctors and loved ones and dying after a brief illness. The queen’s senior doctor, gastroenterologist Huw Thomas, will be in charge of who can go into her room at which time and when the information of her death should be made public.

There are several rules Queen Elizabeth has laid out that should be carried out once she dies — from how long she should be mourned to what should be played on public television. When the time comes, the news will be broadcast immediately unless she dies in the middle of the night. If that happens, the announcement will be made early the following morning.

The Daily Beast reported that “every senior BBC presenter has to have a dark suit and black tie on standby in which to announce the death of a senior member of the royal family.”

There will then be 12 official days of mourning, and the queen’s body will lie in state for those days. During this time the BBC cannot air any comedies or other humorous programs. In fact, Her Majesty has already handpicked several documentaries about her life to be played on the network.

When Prince Charles becomes king


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Queen Elizabeth has been the monarch since 1952. And upon the queen’s death, Prince Charles will be ready to take over the role. It is something that he has been prepped for his whole life.

The prince is the longest-serving heir apparent in the British royal family’s history. And as first in line to the throne, he will automatically become the king of England the moment his mother takes her last breath. This is to ensure that the throne is never vacant.

Although he will succeed her the same day, his official coronation likely won’t take place until a few months later. The reason is due to the tradition of allowing an appropriate length of time between a monarch’s passing and holding a celebration to crown their heir.

A few changes that will go into effect will be altering Britain’s national anthem from “God Save The Queen” to “God Save The King” and issuing new stamps and banknotes as well as coins with an image of the male monarch.