ABC 6 News Royal expert explains future of the monarchy, planning for The Queen’s funeral

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(ABC 6 News) – Monday, the world said its final goodbyes to Queen Elizabeth II. ABC 6 News Royal expert Sydney Zatz explains what’s next for the monarchy, and how much planning went into The Queen’s funeral.

Immediately following the death of The Queen, her oldest son, Prince Charles, became King Charles III. He is not the only one receiving a new title. Many royals as they’ve been known will have a change of name.

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Prince William and Kate Middleton, formerly known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are taking on a new title – the Prince and Princess of Wales.

“Prince of Wales” was the title held by King Charles III before he ascended the throne. William’s late mother, Princess Diana, was the former Princess of Wales. Following her 1996 divorce from Charles, and her death about a year later, she is still known as Diana, Princess of Wales.

Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis will also receive new titles. For example, rather than being known as Prince George of Cambridge, he will now be known as Prince George of Wales. Following her marriage to Charles, Queen Consort Camilla, or as she was known, the Duchess of Cornwall decided to not take on the Wales title.

While the change is not official, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s children, Archie and Lilibet could gain a prince or princess title. As the second son of King Charles, a 1917 law by King George V states children and grandchildren of a monarch have the right to a title. As well as the right to being addressed as His/Her Royal Highness.

When the time comes and King Charles dies, Prince William will be the next in line to take the throne as he’s the oldest son of the King. Then, it will be Prince George – the oldest child of Prince William. If George doesn’t have children when he’s older, the monarch title will go to Princess Charlotte after George dies. If George has children, the oldest will become King or Queen when he dies.

In 2013, prior to the birth of Prince George, a law was created to allow the child of an heir, boy or girl, to take the throne if they’re the oldest.

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, the youngest son of The Queen, and King Charles’ youngest brother is expected to inherit the “Duke of Edinburgh” title. A title held by his father, Prince Philip who died in 2021.

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The UK has been preparing for The Queen’s death for decades with the plan, Operation London Bridge. The plan lays out the ten days following the death of The Queen.

It includes the official announcement of her death, the period of official mourning, and details of the State Funeral. The plan dates back to the early years of The Queen’s reign with it being revised as necessary.

“London Bridge is down” is the term used to communicate the death of The Queen to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Immediately after her death, Prince Charles became King Charles III. The public is then notified of her death with a notice posted outside Buckingham Palace.

In the days following her death, The King and Queen Consort Camilla went on a tour of the United Kingdom. They visited mourning sites and met with government officials.

What’s unique about The Queen’s death is she died in Scotland, not England. That is where Operation Unicorn comes in – the plan to move The Queen’s body from Balmoral, her estate in Northern Scotland to London. The Queen usually spent her summers at Balmoral which was said to be her favorite residence. Her body was driven down the country before arriving in the city of Edinburgh for a lying-in-state, and a church service.

Her Late Majesty made her final journey by plane to London and once back across the border, Operation London Bridge is immediately back in place. The Queen would spend one final night at Buckingham Palace before she was taken to Westminster Hall in central London for a multi-day lying-in-state.

As for the day of the funeral, King Charles led the royal family in a procession as the coffin traveled from Westminster Hall to the nearby Westminster Abbey. The service finished with two minutes of silence observed across the United Kingdom.

After a procession through London and passing Buckingham Palace one last time, The Queen made her final journey to Windsor Castle. About a 45-minute – to an hour-long drive depending on traffic.

Her casket was taken to St George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle where she is put to rest in a private burial. The body of her husband, Prince Philip, will be moved from the royal vault so they can be buried together.

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Throughout the years, Zatz has had an opportunity to see Her Late Majesty several times and was at her Platinum Jubilee in June 2022. An avid collector, she shares some of her favorite royal mementos.