If Buckingham announced the queen’s death at around 7:30 pm (French time) this Thursday, the ruler died in the early afternoon. A look at the last few hours, which have kept the world in suspense.
Queen Elizabeth II, an exceptionally long-lived monarch, died “peacefully” at her residence in Balmoral, Scotland on Thursday 8 September.
If Buckingham announced the queen’s death at around 7:30 pm (French time), many British media outlets reveal that the king did indeed die in the early afternoon. A look at the last few hours that have kept the whole world in suspense.
Unrest in the British Parliament
It was past noon in London (1pm in France) when Nadhim Zahawi, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, rushed to the House of Commons, then in the midst of a debate on energy price caps, to deliver a note to the Prime Minister Liz Truss, newly appointed by the Queen.
This note, written on a piece of paper, reports the doctors’ concerns about the queen’s health. The information is then quickly made public. Shortly after 12:30, Buckingham Palace issued the following statement: “The Queen’s doctors are concerned about her Majesty’s condition and have recommended that she remain under medical supervision.”
The Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle, then intervened briefly to send “best wishes” to the Queen. In Westminster, “people with constitutional roles” are told to prepare for the worst, reports the Guardian.
Around 12:40 pm, black screen on the BBC, which interrupts the usual running of its programs to read the press release of the building and launch a special edition. The presenters pull out their black ties.
Family run to Balmoral
From 12:45 (13:45 French time) the members of the royal family go urgently to the castle of Balmoral. Prince Charles, his eldest son and heir, who stays not far from there with his wife, in Birkhall, is one of the first to arrive at his bedside.
Princess Anne, also from Scotland, quickly joins Balmoral. Shortly thereafter, Prince William and Prince Andrew take a plane from Northolt (north-west London) to Aberdeen to be with the monarch around 5pm (UK time).
Princes Andrew and Edward, the Queen’s two youngest sons, also disembark at 5pm in Aberdeen.
For his part, Prince Harry, who was due to attend a charity event in London on Thursday night, also boarded a plane to go to the Queen, without his wife Meghan. Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and wife of Prince William, is also in Windsor to take care of George, Charlotte and Louis who returned to school the same morning.
Private announcement of the queen’s death
While waiting for new information on the queen’s health, the British and newsrooms around the world are holding their breath and preparing for the worst. The unprecedented frankness of Buckingham’s press release appears to prepare the public for bad news. The British begin to flock to Buckingham despite the rain.
The world doesn’t know yet, but the Queen just died, in Balmoral, around 4pm UK time.
As is the protocol of the London Bridge operation, Prime Minister Liz Truss is the first person to be informed of his death. It is 4:30 pm (local time) when the Secretary of State in the Cabinet, Simon Case, sends him the famous code “London Bridge is down”. Carlo and Anna are the only two children present at the queen’s bedside during the announcement, explains the Daily mail.
Two hours later, at 7:25 pm French time, while all the children and grandchildren of the family are with the Queen, the information is made public: “A few moments ago Buckingham Palace announced the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II”, then says with emotion the BBC presenter, dressed in black as a sign of mourning, under the first notes of the British anthem God Save the Queen.
Starting at 7:30 pm, the royal family’s Twitter account reads: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The king and queen consort will stay at Balmoral tonight and return to London tomorrow.”
Prince Charles automatically became king, with the name of Charles III. Crowds gathered in Buckingham then sang the traditional “God save the king!” (“God save the king!”).