As the sad news of Queen Elizabeth’s death creates a shockwave of uncertainty across the globe, Australia is setting in motion a secret plan seven decades in the making.
The heartbreaking reality that her Majesty, 96, has passed away after 70 years as ruler of Britain and head of state for Australia and the Commonwealth, means a series of protocols will now be enacted in Canberra.
The code words from Buckingham Palace that ‘London Bridge is down’ will start a ten-day process beginning with naming a new King and ending in her funeral.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was told news of the Queen’s passing an hour before the rest of the world is informed via an official announcement.
In preparation it is understood the Prime Minister’s staff carries a ceremonial black tie for Anthony Albanese to wear immediately after he is given the news.
While it will be the saddest of days for her family, royal watchers and her legion of loyal fans sparking a solemn period of mourning, the Queen will be immortalised with the announcement of a new national holiday in Australia.
The Queen waits in the Drawing Room before receiving the new British Prime Minister, Liz Truss, at Balmoral, Scotland on Tuesday. By Thursday she was under the supervision of doctors amid concerns about her health
The secret plans that will trigger a series of protocols in Australia – including a new national holiday
Prince Charles will become Charles III, proclaimed at St James’s Palace and in Australia by the governor-general
The plans are understood to have been revised since 2017 and were passed to Mr Albanese as the incoming Australian prime minister, The Weekend Australian reported.
Prince Charles will become Charles III, proclaimed in Britain at St James’s Palace.
In Australia the same proclamation will be made at Parliament House by the remarkable monarch’s representative here, the governor-general.
Charles’s new full title will be the elaborate ‘Charles the Third, by the Grace of God King of Australia and His other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth’.
Charles’s wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, will assume the title of queen consort, as confirmed by the Queen earlier this year.
‘When, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me,’ she said.
Australia’s official mourners are likely to include Mr Albanese and his girlfriend, Jodie Haydon
Charles’ new full title will be the elaborate ‘Charles the Third, by the Grace of God King of Australia and His other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth’. Camilla Parker Bowles will become queen consort
‘It is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as queen consort as she continues her own loyal service.’
She will not have any authority or title in Australia other than social and diplomatic, but she will be known to the world as Queen Camilla.
A framed notice has been placed on the fence of Buckingham Palace informing the public of the Queen Elizabeth’s death.
The palace floodlights have been extinguished in a poignant but traditional piece of symbolism.
Of most interest to Australians will be the news that a national public holiday is likely to emerge from the Queen’s passing.
But fittingly that will have to wait, at least 11 days.
Her funeral will take place ten days after her death, with a procession to Westminster Abbey at 11am, a committal at 3.55pm at Windsor Castle and a private burial at the castle at 7pm.
There will be four official Australian mourners – the Prime Minister, his partner, the governor-general and his wife.
Current governor-general David Hurley will be an official mourner at the Queen’s funeral
The official mourners are likely to be Mr Albanese, his girlfriend Jodie Haydon, current Governor-General David Hurley and his wife Linda Hurley.
Mr Albanese will have a ceremonial role for the service in the United Kingdom as well as at home in Australia.
A further ten to 12 notable Australians will be invited to attend the Queen’s funeral.
They are expected to include Indigenous Australians, representatives from charitable, religious, sporting and community organisations.
The plans include two RAAF planes collecting Pacific leaders and flying them to London for the Queen’s funeral.
An Australian service will be held at a yet-to-be confirmed Anglican cathedral after the state funeral.
The day that happens is likely to be named an Australian national holiday.
Flags will be flown at half-mast in the UK and Australia for ten days.