Queen Elizabeth Is Dead—Here’s What Happens Next Now That Charles Is King

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It’s not uncommon for rumors about Queen Elizabeth’s death to make headlines, but this time, the news is true: Queen Elizabeth is dead.

Queen Elizabeth II died “peacefully” at her home in Balmoral, Scotland, on September 8, 2022, Buckingham Palace announced in a statement. She was 96. “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” the official statement read. The statement continued, “The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

The news came hours after Buckingham Palaxe announced the Queen was put “under medical supervision” due to “concern” from her doctors. “Following further evaluation this morning, The Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision,” the statement read at the time. “The Queen remains comfortable and at Balmoral.” The palace also confirmed that Prince Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince William were immediately informed of the Queen’s health. “Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have traveled to Balmoral,” the palace said.

The news also came less than a year after rumors of of Queen Elizabeth’s death sparked in February 2022 when gossip website, Hollywood Unlocked, claimed that the monarch passed away at the age of 95. The publication’s claim came just days after reports confirmed that the Queen had tested positive for COVID-19 after coming in close contact with her eldest son, Prince Charles, who also contracted the virus earlier in the month. According to Hollywood Unlocked, the Queen was “found dead” after she was set to attend a wedding.

“It is with our deepest regret to inform you that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has died,” their report read at the time. “Sources close to the Royal Kingdom notified us exclusively that Queen Elizabeth has passed away. She was scheduled to attend the wedding of British Vogue editor Edward Enninful, but was found dead.”

While the site did not cite any official palace sources, Hollywood Unlocked CEO and founder Jason Lee took to Twitter to back up the outlet’s claims. “We don’t post lies and I always stand by my sources,” he wrote at the time. “Waiting for an official statement from the palace.” Later, the CEO reiterated his stance on Instagram, writing, “I’ve never lied;” “I’ve never been wrong;” “I trust my sources;” and “I have yet to see an official statement from the palace saying otherwise,” in a numbered list. Despite Lee’s statement, however, the news of the Queen’s death at the time was false.

Is Queen Elizabeth dead?

queen elizabeth birthday Queen Elizabeth Is Dead—Heres What Happens Next Now That Charles Is King

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Is Queen Elizabeth dead? The answer is yes. The Queen died in the afternoon of September 8, 2022. She was 96 years old. Prince Charles, who is next in line for the throne, was by her side.

After she tested positive for COVID-19 in February 2022, a source told Us Weekly at the time the monarch had been recovering “without any fuss” despite reports of her death. “Of course, she has a team of doctors to lean on whenever needed and a support staff that’s second to none,” the insider told the site. “But thus far Her Majesty has been handling this without any fuss or need to involve too many others in her recovery.”

But what about those rumors about Queen Elizabeth’s death? Following Hollywood Unlocked’s report on February 22, 2022, the outlet issued a statement on social media apologizing for the false story and blaming the report on a mistaken “intern journalist” who “published the draft post by mistake.” They added, “Our deepest apologies goes out to the #RoyalFamily and all involved in this embarrassing situation. It was an accident and we’re working hard to make sure that this mistake never happens again.”

Even before the outlet retracted their story, social media users and royal followers alike spent hours questioning the veracity of Hollywood Unlocked’s report about Queen Elizabeth’s death. Many individuals found it difficult to believe that a tabloid blog in the United States would be the first to break the news about the British monarch’s passing, especially before outlets in the United Kingdom had a chance to report the story. Others also noted the suspicious nature of Hollywood Unlocked’s assertion that the Queen was “found dead” before attending a wedding; considering that the monarch tested positive for COVID-19 and canceled her recent royal engagements, it was highly unlikely that she was set to attend a public event like Vogue editor Edward Enniful’s nuptials.

What happens when Queen Elizabeth dies?

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What l happens when Queen Elizabeth dies, exactly? When the time comes, the palace has a detailed plan—called “Operation London Bridge”—to be executed upon the Queen’s death.

When the Queen dies, news of her death will first be shared using a code phrase, thought to be “London Bridge is down,” among government officials. Notified individuals will likely include the prime minister, the cabinet secretary and other senior officials. In addition, news of the Queen’s death will be shared with the governments of which she is the head of state, along with the nations of the Commonwealth where she is still considered a symbolic figurehead.

After governments officials are notified, news of the Queen’s death will be announced to the public through a newsflash to the British Press Association. The palace will also begin to stage displays of mourning, including black imagery across all social media accounts, shared statements on official websites and a black death announcement pinned to the gates of Buckingham Palace. The royal family and prime minister will be expected to issue their official statements. Later in the evening, the Queen’s eldest son—Prince Charles—will address the world as the United Kingdom’s new king.

How did Queen Elizabeth die?

Queen Elizabeth

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How did the Queen die? Queen Elizabeth II died “peacefully” at her home at Balmoral Castle in Scotland in the afternoon of September 8, 2022. She was 96. Buckingham Palace confirmed her death in a statement. She will be succeeded by her son, Charles, Prince of Wales, who will now become King Charles III. Charles’ wife, Camila, Duchess of Cornwall, will now become The Queen Consort. “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” Buckingham Palace’s statement read. “The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.” The Queen’s death came hours after after Buckingham Palace announced that she had been placed under “medical supervision” due to “concerns” from her doctors. “Following further evaluation this morning, The Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision,” the Buckingham Palace said at the time. “The Queen remains comfortable and at Balmoral.” The statement continued, “Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have traveled to Balmoral.”

After the Queen passed away, Charles—the heir apparent to the British royal throne and the Queen’s eldest son with her late husband, Prince Philip—honored his mother in a statement on the official Royal Family Twitter. “The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” the statement read. “We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign, and much-loved mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world. During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection on which The Queen was so widely held.”

The Queen was surrounded by British royal family members at the time of her death. Along with Charles and Camila, the Queen’s second and third sons with Philip—Prince Andrew and Prince Edward—were seen arriving at Aberdeen Airport in Scotland shortly before her death. Prince Edward’s wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, was also seen arriving at the airport, as well as the Queen’s eldest grandson, Prince William. The Queen’s second eldest grandson, Prince Harry, wasn’t seen at Balmoral Castle until hours after her death. He traveled from Germany, where he and his wife, Meghan Markle, were promoting the Invictus Games, to Scotland. Meghan, for her part, didn’t join Harry at Balmoral Castle and remained in Germany at the time of the Queen’s death. William’s wife, Kate Middleton, also wasn’t present at Balmoral Castle and stayed in Windsor, England, as September 8 was the first day of school for her and William’s children: Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4.

What was Queen Elizabeth’s cause of death?

Queen Elizabeth

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What was the Queen’s cause of death? Queen Elizabeth II’s cause of death was confirmed as “Old Age: on her death certificate. The National Records of Scotland published the Queen’s death certificate on October 29, 2022, which listed her forename as “Elizabeth Alexandra Mary” and her surname as “Windsor.” It also listed her occupation as “Her Majesty The Queen” and confirmed that the time of her death was 3:10 p.m. local time on September 8, 2022. The location of her death was also ocnfirmed as Balmoral Castle, Ballater, AB35 5TB. Her martial status was listed as “Widowed. Under “Cause of Death,” only one reason was given: Old Age.

The Queen’s death came hours after after Buckingham Palace announced that she had been placed under “medical supervision” due to “concerns” from her doctors. “Following further evaluation this morning, The Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision,” the Buckingham Palace said at the time. “The Queen remains comfortable and at Balmoral.” The statement continued, “Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have traveled to Balmoral.”  The statement also came a day after the Queen cancelled a scheduled Privy Council meeting so he could rest. “After a full day yesterday, Her Majesty has this afternoon accepted doctors’ advice to rest,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement on September 7, 2022. “This means that the Privy Council meeting that had been due to take place this evening will be rearranged.”

Before her death, the Queen had been seen regularly using a cane since October 2021. That month, she cancelled a scheduled trip to Northern Ireland under the advice of her doctors and spent a night in the hospital. “The Queen has reluctantly accepted medical advice to rest for the next few days,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement at the time. “Her Majesty is in good spirits and is disappointed that she will no longer be able to visit Northern Ireland, where she had been due to undertake a series of engagements today and tomorrow.”

After her hospitalization, Buckingham Palace confirmed in a statement at the time that the Queen “remains in good spirits” following her overnight stay, where she underwent “preliminary investigations.” “Following medical advice to rest for a few days, the Queen attended hospital on Wednesday afternoon for some preliminary investigations, returning to Windsor Castle at lunchtime today and remains in good spirits,” the statement read.

The Queen’s death also came a year after she tested positive for COVID-19 following close contact with Charles, who contracted the virus earlier that month. At the time, celebrity gossip website Hollywood Unlocked, falsely reported that the Queen had died at the age of 95 from COVID-19. The site falsely reported at the time that the Queen was “found dead” after she was set to attend a wedding. “It is with our deepest regret to inform you that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has died,” Hollywood Unlocked’s report read at the time. “Sources close to the Royal Kingdom notified us exclusively that Queen Elizabeth has passed away. She was scheduled to attend the wedding of British Vogue editor Edward Enninful, but was found dead.”

While the site didn’t credit any official royal  sources, Hollywood Unlocked CEO and founder Jason Lee took to his Twitter  at the time to back up the outlet’s report. “We don’t post lies and I always stand by my sources,” he wrote at the time. “Waiting for an official statement from the palace.” Lee later reiterated his stance on Instagram, writing, “I’ve never lied;” “I’ve never been wrong;” “I trust my sources;” and “I have yet to see an official statement from the palace saying otherwise,” in a numbered list. Despite Lee’s statement, however, the news of the Queen’s death at the time was false.

After the Queen tested positive for COVID-19 in February 2022, a source told Us Weekly at the time the monarch had been recovering “without any fuss” despite Hollywood Unlocked’s report of her death. “Of course, she has a team of doctors to lean on whenever needed and a support staff that’s second to none,” the insider told the magazine. “But thus far Her Majesty has been handling this without any fuss or need to involve too many others in her recovery.” After reports the Queen was still alive, Hollywood Unlocked issued a statement on social media apologizing for the incorrect story and blaming the report on an “intern journalist” who “published the draft post by mistake.” The site added, “Our deepest apologies goes out to the #RoyalFamily and all involved in this embarrassing situation. It was an accident and we’re working hard to make sure that this mistake never happens again.”

Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch

Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch

Image: Courtesy of Random House.


For more about the British royal family, check out Sally Bedell Smith’s 2012 biography, Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch
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The New York Times bestseller, which includes the “real story” behind several storylines featured in Netflix’s The Crown, follows Queen Elizabeth II’s life from her childhood as the “heiress presumptive” to her father, King George VI; to the moment he et her husband, Prince Philip, when she was 13 years old; to her ascension to the throne at 25 years old in 1952. Elizabeth the Queen, which also includes interviews with Buckingham Palace sources and never-before-revealed documents, provides a deep dive into the Queen’s legacy as one of the most famous monarchs in recent history.

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