The death of Queen Elizabeth will be the most disruptive event in Britain in the last 70 years

Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of this Realm and of Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, is not going to live forever.

Since ascending to the throne in 1952, the monarch has seen 13 Prime Ministers serve Britain, and lived through another 12 US presidents (with number 13 on the way). She's now 90. At some point — not for many years yet, we hope — Queen Elizabeth II's reign will come to an end.

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Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953
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Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953
The royal carriage of Queen Elizabeth II passes along Victoria Embankment on its way to Westminster Abbey, on June 02, 1953, during the ceremony of coronation of the Queen. The Queen was solemnly crowned at Westminster Abbey in London. (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II poses with the royal sceptre 02 June 1953 after being crowned solemnly at Westminter Abbey in London. Elizabeth was proclaimed Queen in 1952 at age 25. (Photo credit should read STF/AFP/Getty Images)
(FILES) Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) accompanied by Prince Philip waves to the crowd, 02 June 1953, after being crowned solemnly at Westminter Abbey in London. Queen Elizabeth II was set Thursday 20 December 2007, to become the oldest monarch, overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria amid signs the royal family is preparing for life after 81-year-old 'Lillibet'. Victoria died in 1901 aged 81 years and 243 days, and Elizabeth will mark passing the milestone with neither pomp nor ceremony, spending the day as usual with her husband of 60 years, Prince Philip. AFP PHOTO/FILES (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
Queen's Guards marching along Pall Mall as part of Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation procession, London, 2nd June 1953. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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But what happens then?

For at least 12 days — between her passing, the funeral and beyond — Britain will grind to a halt. It'll cost the British economy billions in lost earnings due to the chaos. The stock markets and banks will likely close. And both the funeral and the subsequent coronation will become formal national holidays, each with an estimated economic hit to GDP of between £1.2 and £6 billion, to say nothing of organisational costs.

But to focus on the financial disruption doesn't begin to describe the sheer magnitude of it. It will be an event unlike anything Britain has seen since the end of the Second World War. There will be trivial disruptions — the BBC will cancel all comedy shows, for example — and jarring cultural changes. Prince Charles may change his name, for instance, and the words of the national anthem will be changed, too. The British Commonwealth might even unravel completely.

The deaths of Princess Diana and the Queen Mother both brought on waves of public mourning and hysteria. But the Queen, due to her longevity and fundamental place atop British society, will be on a whole new level above that.

The vast majority of British people have simply never known life without the Queen.

It will be a strange, uncertain time.

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Princess Diana's life in photos
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Princess Diana's life in photos
Princess Diana wearing a tiara and diamond necklace on an official visit to Australia, April 12th 1983. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 01: An informal study of Prince CHARLES, the Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana SPENCER, whose wedding will take place at Saint-Paul's Cathedral, London on 29th July 1981. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
LONDON - JULY 29: (FILE PHOTO) Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales leave St. Paul's Cathedral following their wedding July 29, 1981 in London, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
LONDON - JULY 29: Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince Charles ride in a carriage after their wedding at St. Paul's Cathedral July 29, 1981 in London, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 - 1997) pose together during their honeymoon in Balmoral, Scotland, 19th August 1981. (Photo by Serge Lemoine/Getty Images)
Princess Diana wearing a Jasper Conran suit during a visit to a community centre in Brixton, October 1983. (Photo by Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE: Britain's Princess Diana arrived in Paris Friday, 13 November, 1992, on a private three day visit she is making without her husband, Prince Charles. (Photo credit should read JOEL ROBINE/AFP/Getty Images)
HONG KONG, HONG KONG: Britain's Princess Diana stands with tennis players Michael Chang of the US (L) and Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman during the awards ceremony at the Hong Kong Open 23 April. Princess Diana, on a private visit to Hong Kong, watched as Chang defeated Bjorkman 6-3, 6-1 to win the tournament. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
The Princess of Wales visits Chinatown in Liverpool, April 1982. She is pregnant with Prince William, and wearing a pink wool maternity coat by Bellville Sassoon and a hat by John Boyd. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 06: Princess Diana At Polo, Just Two Weeks Before The Birth Of Her First Child, Prince William. Wearing A Maternity Dress Designed By Fashion Designer Catherine Walker She Is Walking With Sarah Ferguson. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
LONDON - JUNE 22: New born Prince William with Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince Charles leave St. Mary's hospital on June 22, 1982 in Paddington, London, England,. He was born in the Lindo Wing of the hospital on June 21. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 01: Princess Diana Holding Her Baby Son, Prince William, At Kensington Palace. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 18: Princess Diana And Prince William In New Zealand. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
(FILES) This picture taken 17 June 1997 shows Diana, Princess of Wales, a key volunteer of the British Red Cross Landmine Campaign at Red Cross headquarters in Washington DC. Princess Diana may have survived her fatal Paris car crash in 1997 if French medical staff had not wasted precious time, a leading British surgeon indicated at her inquest 19 November 2007. AFP PHOTO/FILES/Jamal (Photo credit should read JAMAL A. WILSON/AFP/Getty Images)
The Prince and Princess of Wales visit Barmouth in Wales, November 1982. She wears a suede beret by John Boyd and a coatdress by Arabella Pollen. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
The Princess of Wales visits University College Hospital in London, December 1982. She wears a John Boyd hat and a velvet suit by Caroline Charles. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 01: Princess Diana And Prince Charles With Prince William And His Koala Bear Toy At Kensington Palace (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) at the School of the Air, in Alice Springs, Australia, 30th March 1983. She is wearing a dress by Jan van Velden. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
AYERS ROCK, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 21: Prince Charles, The Prince Of Wales And Diana, Princess Of Wales Standing In Front Of Ayers Rock During Their Official Tour Of Australia (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
NEW ZEALAND - APRIL 18: Princess Diana During A Visit To New Zealand Wearing A Dress Designed By Fashion Designer Donald Campbell (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
MANUKAU - APRIL 19: Diana Princess of Wales meets firemen during a visit to Manukau, near Auckland, New Zealand during the Royal Tour of New Zealand on April 19, 1983. Princess Diana wore a suit designed by Jan Van Velden, with a hat by John Boyd. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
CANADA - JUNE 23: Princess Diana in Edmonton during an official visit of Canada (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) leaving St Mary's Hospital, London with her new-born son Prince Harry, September 1984. She is wearing a red coat by Jan van Velden. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
VENICE, ITALY - MAY 5: (FILE PHOTO) (L-R) Diana the Princess of Wales holds her son Harry, whilst looking at Prince William held by his father Prince Charles on May 5, 1985 in Venice, Italy. Prince William will celebrate his 21st birthday on June 21, 2003. (Photo by Georges de Keerle/Getty Images) On July 1st Diana, Princess Of Wales would have celebrated her 50th Birthday Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery. http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=107811125&EditorialProduct=Archival For further images see also: Princess Diana: http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Account/MediaBin/LightboxDetail.aspx?Id=17267941&MediaBinUserId=5317233 Following Diana's Death: http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Account/MediaBin/LightboxDetail.aspx?Id=18894787&MediaBinUserId=5317233 Princess Diana - A Style Icon: http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Account/MediaBin/LightboxDetail.aspx?Id=18253159&MediaBinUserId=5317233
LA SPEZIA, ITALY - APRIL 20: The Prince and Princess of Wales in La Spezia during a tour of Italy. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
TWERTON ON AVON - MAY 31: Diana Princess of Wales meets girl guides outside the Poolemead centre for the Deaf on May 31, 1985 in Twerton on Avon, Bath, Avon. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
CANADA - JULY 01: Diana Princess of Wales celebrates her birthday in Canada (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) inspects a guard of honour during a two-day visit to the 1st Battalion, the Royal Hampshire Regiment in Berlin, October 1985. She is wearing a pink and black suit by Victor Edelstein and a hat by Frederick Fox. (Photo by Lucy Levenson/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 04: Diana, Princess of Wales with her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, at the piano in Kensington Palace (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
KLOSTERS, SWITZERLAND - FEBRUARY 06: Prince Charles With Princess Diana On A Ski-ing Holiday Together. The Princess Is Wearing A Red 'head' Ski Suit And A Headband And She Is Holding A Pair Of 'dynamic' Skis. The Prince Is Wearing A Blue Ski Suit And Carrying A Pair Of 'k2' Skis. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
VIENNA - APRIL 16: Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a sapphire diamond and pearl necklace, attends a banquet on April 16, 1986 in Vienna, Austria (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
TETBURY, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 18: Princess Diana Carries Prince Henry (harry) On Her Shoulders At Highgrove. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 22: PRINCESS DIANA ON BOARD HMS TRAFALGAR NUCLEAR SUBMARINE MEETING THE CREW DURING A VISIT TO THE NAVAL SUBMARINE BASE IN FASLANE IN THE FIRTH OF CLYDE, SCOTLAND (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
SANDHURST - APRIL 10: Diana, Princess of Wales wears a Catherine Walker white suit with drum majorette gold frogging and epaulettes and a graham smith hat for her visit to the Sandhurst Military Academy on April 10, 1987 in Sandhurst, England (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
Princess Diana and Prince Charles of Wales attending a Lionel Richie concert at Wembley Arena, London, November 7th 1987. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
The Prince And Princess Of Wales At A Prizegiving, At Polo, Smiths Lawn, Windsor. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
Diana, The Princess Of Wales, And Prince William, At A Polo Match, Smiths Lawn, Windsor. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 14: Princess Diana With Her Sons Prince William And Prince Harry At Aberdeen Airport. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
MAJORCA, SPAIN - AUGUST 10: Diana, Princess of Wales with Prince Harry on holiday in Majorca, Spain on August 10, 1987. (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) driving an armoured vehicle with the Royal Hampshire Regiment at Tidworth, Hampshire, 23rd June 1988. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
CHAMBORD, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 09: Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a white and blue lace and sequin evening coat-dress designed by Catherine Walker for a dinner at the Chateau de Chambord during her official visit to France. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
The Princess of Wales at the museum in Kuwait City, March 1989. She is wearing a gold embroidered bedouin gown that was presented to her with a silver tea set to mark the occasion of her visit. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Getty Images)
The Princess of Wales with her sons William and Harry on the chair lift during a skiing holiday in Lech, Austria, April 1991. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 7 Diana, Princess of Wales attends the Premiere of Dangerous Liaisons, in London's West End, on March 7, 1989 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MARCH 15: The Prince And Princess Of Wales attend a desert picnic on March 15, 1989 in Adu Dhab, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)
BATH - MAY 30: (FILE PHOTO) Prince William, Diana, Princess of Wales, Prince Harry and Charles, Prince of Wales, attend the wedding of the Duke of Hussey's daughter in May, 1989 in Bath, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 11: Princess Diana With Her Sons Prince William And Prince Harry Standing On The Steps Of Wetherby School On The First Day For Prince Harry. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
INDONESIA - NOVEMBER 05: The Princess Of Wales Playing Bowls At Sitanalia Leprosy Hospital In Indonesia (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
NIGERIA - JUNE 3: (FILE PHOTO) (PRINCESS DIANA RETROSPECTIVE 17 OF 22) The Princess of Wales speaks with Nigerians circa 1990 during a visit to Nigeria. Princess Diana, 36-years-old, died with her companion Dodi Fayed, 41-years-old, in a car crash August 31, 1997 in Paris, France. Fayed was the son of an Egyptian billionaire. (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)
The Princess of Wales and the Queen Mother in an open-topped landau on their way to the Royal Ascot race meeting, June 1990. The Princess wears a Catherine Walker suit and a Philip Somerville hat. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
The Princess of Wales walks amongst crowds of children waving flags during her visit to Cullompton in Devon, September 1990. She is wearing a Catherine Walker dress. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 05: Princess Diana With Mrs Barbara Bush At The White House (Photo by TIM GRAHAM/Getty Images)
Diana, The Princess Of Wales Takes Her Sons, Prince'S William, And Harry Out On The Boat ' Maid Of The Mist ' To View Niagara Falls. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 18: Diana Princess of Wales attends the Premiere of Hot Shots, in London's West End, on November 18, 1991 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
The Princess of Wales (1961 - 1997) talks to children at the British school in Seoul during a visit to Korea, 1992. (Photo by Linda Grove/Getty Images)
INDIA - FEBRUARY 11: Diana Princess of Wales sits in front of the Taj Mahal during a visit to India (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
CALCUTTA;INDIA - FEBRUARY: Princess Diana the Princess of Wales holds hands with a nun at Mother Teresa's Hospice in Calcutta during her visit to India in February of 1992. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
GIZA, EGYPT - MAY 12: Diana Princess of Wales visiting the Pyramids in Giza during an official tour of Egypt. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
EGYPT - MAY 13: Diana, Princess of Wales in teh Alazhar Mosque, Cairo, Egypt (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 13: Diana, Princess of Wales, Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, and Prince Harry, attend the Trooping The Colour Ceremony on June 13, 1992 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) on a skiing holiday in Lech, Austria, March 1993. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) meets local people during a field visit to Red Cross projects in the remote mountain villages of Nepal, 3rd March 1993. (Photo by Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)
Diana Princess Of Wales, Prince William & Prince Harry Visit The 'Thorpe Park' Amusement Park. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) during a visit to the Red Cross borehole project for refugees in Zimbabwe, July 1993. She is wearing a safari suit by Catherine Walker. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Getty Images)
Princess Diana (1961 - 1997), Prince Harry, Prince William and Prince Charles at a parade in the Mall, London, during V.J. Day commemorations, August 1994. Diana is wearing a Tomasz Starzewski suit and a hat by Philip Somerville. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 20: Princess Diana Reviewing The Troops Of The Princess Of Wales Regiment In Kent. The Princess Is Wearing A Pink Suit Designed By Versace. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Diana, Princess Of Wales Attends The Serpentine Gallery Summer Party. (Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
LONDON -OCTOBER 08: Diana, Princess of Wales laughs as she visits the London Lighthouse, the HIV/Aids charity, to help launch it's £1.5 million Capital Appeal on October 08, 1996 in London, England . (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
Diana, Princess of Wales at Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art for a benefit ball. (Photo By: Richard Corkery/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
ANGOLA - JANUARY 15: Diana, Princess of Wales wearing protective body armour, visits a minefield being cleared by the chirty Halo in Huambo, Angola (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 09: Official Portrait Of The Royal Family On The Day Of Prince William's Confirmation. Front Left To Right - Prince William, Princess Diana, Prince William, Prince Charles And The Queen. Back Left To Right - King Constantine, Lady Susan Hussey, Princess Alexandra, Duchess Of Westminster And Lord Romsey (Photo by Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images)
GREAT BRITAIN - JUNE 06: Diana, Princess of Wales crouching down to embrace a pupil at the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Diana, The Princess Of Wales Visits Washington, Usa.Gala Dinner Held By The American Red Cross, To Raise Funds For Landmine Victims Around The World. . (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
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The early hours

Much depends on the manner of the Queen's passing. If it is expected (from a long illness, say), then detailed plans will have been put in place for handling it and making the announcement. These plans are already being made: Inside Buckingham Palace, arrangements for after the Queen's passing and the subsequent succession are known as the "Bridge."

But if it's sudden, unexpected, or even in public — as was the case with Princess Diana's death in 1997 — then the news will get out immediately, in an unplanned, uncontrolled fashion.

Either way, the majority of staff at the Palace and associated institutions will be immediately sent home. (According to The Daily Beast, if it happens overnight, it will be announced at 8 a.m.) The Royal Court has a staff hotline for distributing news and instructions to employees in the event of occasions like this. Many of the details in this story were provided to Business Insider by a former staff member of the Palace.

Assuming the Queen's passing was expected, the news will spread at first via the main TV channels. All BBC channels will stop their programming and show the BBC1 feed for the announcement. The other independent channels won't be obligated to interrupt their regular programming. But they almost certainly will.

This is how the BBC initially announced the death of the Queen Mother in 2002:

At the BBC, anchors actively practice for the eventuality of the Monarch's passing so they won't be caught unaware on their shifts. The BBC's Peter Sissons was heavily criticised for wearing a red tie to announce the Queen Mother's passing (as seen above), and the BBC now keeps black ties and suits at the ready at all times.

Presenters also run drills in which they're required to make sudden "spoof" announcements that are never broadcast. In 2015, a BBC journalist tweeted that the Queen had died (on the same day she was visiting hospital, no less) after not realising a rehearsal was going on — with the "news" subsequently being picked up by foreign news outlets.

"A journalist working for the BBC's language services, who had not been sent the email [informing staff about the rehearsal], saw an internal TV monitor which was showing the rehearsal," the BBC Trust said. "A number of tweets were sent from her Twitter account. The first stated that the Queen was being treated in hospital, the second stated that the Queen had died; the tweets included a link to BBC World's official Twitter feed."

All comedy will be cancelled

There will be no Charlie Chaplin for weeks. surfstyle/Flickr (CC)

The last death of a Monarch was in 1952, and the BBC stopped all comedy for a set period of mourning after the announcement was made. The Daily Mail reports that the BBC plans to do the same again today, cancelling all comedy until after the funeral.

CNN has pre-recorded packages on the Queen's life ready to be aired at a moment's notice, we're told — and so will every other major news channel.

The London Stock Exchange will likely close if the announcement happens during working hours, and other businesses may too. The protocols government bodies will follow will emanate from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (though they may also originate from the Palace). But the immediate government response beyond official statements of condolences will be hard to predict, the former palace employee we spoke to said. The last monarch died in 1952; procedures that seemed apt then may be woefully antiquated in the twenty-first century.

Mourners wore black armbands to show respect for George VI, for example, but would similar public displays of mourning be employed today? It's impossible to know until it happens.

Flags will be flown at half-mast until 8 a.m. the day after the funeral, according to guidance from the Greater London Lieutenancy, with the exception of Proclamation Day (more on that shortly). Churches may also toll their bells — either on the day of the death, or the day after.

Whatever happens formally, the shock on the day of the Queen's passing will see Britain effectively cease to function. The day of the funeral, around two weeks later, will be declared a bank holiday, but "shell-shocked" mourning will continue throughout this time.

There will be a brief resurrection of the British Empire

Given the Queen's international significance, it will almost certainly be the top news story across the entire world. It will trend globally on social media. After all, Britain has a massive overseas presence — not just via its embassies, but also former colonies and the Commonwealth, which swears loyalty to the crown, and more informally in any country where English is spoken.

The British Empire once covered a quarter of the earth's landmass and for a brief, surreal period it will feel as if the Empire still exists, as all its former subjects will turn toward Britain for the news.

A former ambassador we spoke to said what will happen overseas depends on the manner of the Queen's passing. If it has been long-expected, there will be detailed plans and procedures in place. If it's sudden, overseas posts will look to the Foreign Office for urgent guidance.

A few things will definitely happen overseas: Social functions will be cancelled. The Union Jack flag will be flown at half-mast until after the funeral (this will also happen at home in the UK). Officials will enter a period of mourning, and dress appropriately. Condolence books will be prepared for visitors to leave messages in.

But the ambassador also stressed there is a massive amount of uncertainty as to what will actually happen. It has been more than 60 years since the last monarch died. Society has changed a huge amount in that time.

We're getting ahead of ourselves, however. What will happen inside the Palace?

Behind closed doors at the Palace, an "Accession Council" will convene

Once the majority of the staff are out the way and the public tourist attractions are closed, an Accession Council will be held at St. James's Palace to declare the successor formally — Prince Charles, barring any unforeseen circumstances. The Accession Council will be attended by Privy Councillors, Lords, the Lord Mayor of the City of London, and High Commissioners of certain Commonwealth countries, amongst others.

This council is not required to make Queen Elizabeth II's successor "official" however — Charles will become the monarch from the moment of her passing. There is never not a Sovereign on the throne. This is also why the the Royal Standard is never flown at half-mast (unlike the Union Jack).

Charles could change his name

It's also worth discussing the possibility of the crown "leapfrogging" Charles in favour of his son, Prince William — a possibility that has been discussed in the media repeatedly.

This would cause a constitutional crisis, and definitely will not happen. Prince William himself has said there is "no question" of it happening. Instead, Prince William will become the new Prince of Wales — Charles' current role.

After all, Charles has waited and prepared for this job for his entire life. And his mother's longevity means that he's no long young either — he will be at least 68 when he takes the throne, past the British age of retirement.

"Impatient? Me? What a thing to suggest! Yes of course I am," he said in 2012. "I'll run out of time soon. I shall have snuffed it if I'm not careful."

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Prince Charles and Camilla
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Prince Charles and Camilla
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 09: TRH Prince Charles & The Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles depart the Civil Ceremony where they were legally married, at The Guildhall, Windsor on April 9, 2005 in Berkshire, England. (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 10: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales leaves the VE Day 70th Anniversary service at Westminster Abbey on May 10, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Danny E. Martindale/Getty Images)
The Wedding Of Hrh The Prince Of Wales & Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles At The Guildhall, Windsor. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
The Prince of Wales and his new bride Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, with their families (L-R back row) Prince Harry, Prince William, Tom and Laura Parker Bowles (L-R front row) Duke of Edinburgh, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Camilla's father Major Bruce Shand, in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle, after their wedding ceremony. (photo: Anwar Hussein)
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, formerly Camila Parker Bowles, arrive at St. Georges Chapel. (photo: Martin Hayhow/PA Archive)
In this handout from Royal Mail an image of a new stamp featuring HRH Prince Charles and Camila Parker Bowles is seen. A series of stamps will be released on the day of the royal wedding in April. The last set of Royal issue stamps was brought out to commemorate Prince William?s 21st birthday in July 2003. (Photo by Royal Mail via Getty Images)
In this handout from Royal Mail a composite image of new stamps featuring HRH Prince Charles and Camila Parker Bowles is seen. A series of stamps will be released on the day of the royal wedding in April. The last set of Royal issue stamps was brought out to commemorate Prince William?s 21st birthday in July 2003. (Photo by Royal Mail via Getty Images)
Britain's Prince Charles and his bride Camila Duchess of Cornwall leave St George's Chapel in Windsor following the church blessing of their civil wedding ceremony, 09 April 2005. In the background is Britain's Queen Elizabeth. Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles, the true love of his life, on Saturday in a private civil ceremony that inevitably paled against his storybook wedding to Princess Diana more than 20 years ago. (Photo credit: ALASTAIR GRANT/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 19: Charles, Prince of Wales sits as he attends a meeting with United States President Barack Obama (not pictured) in the Oval Office of the White House on March 19, 2015 in Washington, D.C. The Prince and Duchess are in Washington as part of a Four day visit to the United States. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)
JINJA, UGANDA - NOVEMBER 24: HRH Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales pose for a photograph at the source of the White Nile on November 24, 2007 in Jinja, Uganda. The Prince and Duchess are in Uganda during the Commonwealth Heads of Govenment Meeting. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 09: TRH Prince Charles and his wife The Duchess Of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles meet the crowd following the Service of Prayer and Dedication after their marriage at The Guildhall, at Windsor Castle on April 9, 2005 in Berkshire, England. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, arrive at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on March 17, 2015 for a four-day visit to the US.(Photo credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 18: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales visit the Lincoln Memorial on the second day of a visit to the United States on March 18, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Prince and Duchess are in Washington as part of a Four day visit to the United States. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales speaks with armed forces personnel during a reception at Guildhall, after the Afghanistan service of commemoration at St Paul's Cathedral on March 13, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Toby Melville - WPA Pool / Getty Images)
LONDON, United Kingdom: FILES - Picture taken 14 November 2002 shows Britain's Prince Charles (R) and his companion Camilla Parker-Bowles leaving the Ritz hotel where a private party was held to celebrate the succes of her jubilee in central London. Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles will marry in Scotland in the coming autumn, a German royal expert and author said 18 May 2004. (Photo credit: NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
SANDRINGHAM, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles arrive together to attend the Sandringham Flower Show on the Royal Sandringham Estate July 31, 2002 in Norfolk, England. Camilla's arrival with Charles, suggests an effort on the part of the British Royal Family to introduce her to more public Royal duties due to her relationship with the Prince. (Photo by Sion Touhig/Getty Images)
GLOUCESTERSHIRE, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Britain's Prince Charles attends a polo match at the Beaufort Polo Club for The Ronnie Wallace Memorial Trophy in aid of The Hunt Servants' Benefit Society July 27, 2002 in Glocestershire, England. (Photo by John Li / Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: Britain's Prince Charles (R) and Camilla Parker Bowles (L) leavee the Ritz Hotel after a private party to celebrate the succes of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II jubilee in central London 14 november 2002. (Photo credit:  NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
NORFOLK,ENGLAND - JULY 23: Camilla Parker Bowles meets fans at the Sandringham Flower Show July 23, 2003 at Sandringham in Norfolk, England. (Photo By Steve Finn/Getty Images)
LONDON - JULY 20: Camilla Parker-Bowles enjoys the speech by the Prince of Wales to London black taxi drivers, during a garden reception in the grounds of Clarence House, on July 20, 2004 in London. (Photo by ROTA/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: The Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles arrive for a charity concert, 11 November 2004 to celebrate the career of music producer Trevor Horn. Charles's partner joined him as he attended the official engagement, titled Produced By Trevor Horn, a concert for the Prince's Trust at London's Wembley Arena. (Photo credit: ANDREW PARSONS/AFP/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM: Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles arrive for a party at Windsor Castle after announcing their engagement earlier 10 February, 2005. Britain's Prince Charles and his longtime companion Camilla Parker Bowles are to marry, his office announced Thursday, putting the official seal on a relationship that first blossomed 35 years ago. (Photo credit: JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM: Camilla Parker Bowles shows off her engagement ring as she and Prince Charles arrive for a party at Windsor Castle after announcing their engagement earlier 10 February, 2005. Britain's Prince Charles and his longtime companion Camilla Parker Bowles are to marry, his office announced Thursday, putting the official seal on a relationship that first blossomed 35 years ago.  (Photo credit: JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images)
GLOUCESTERSHIRE, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: HRH Prince Charles (L) and fiancee Camilla Parker Bowles leave church accompanied by the Rev. Christopher Mulholland, following the Sunday service at St Lawrence Church on March 13, 2005 in Gloucestershire, England. (Photo by Getty Images)
The Prince of Wales, and his new wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall (Photo by Anwar Hussein Collection/ROTA/WireImage)
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles, Duchess of Cornwall and guests (Photo by Anwar Hussein Collection/ROTA/WireImage)
HRH Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles during The Royal Wedding of HRH Prince Charles and Mrs. Camilla Parker Bowles - Outside at Guildhall in Windsor, Great Britain. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 09: HRH Prince Charles & The Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles depart the Civil Ceremony where they were legally married, at The Guildhall, Windsor on April 9, 2005 in Berkshire, England. (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles, Duchess of Cornwall (Photo by Anwar Hussein Collection/ROTA/WireImage)
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At the council, the new Monarch (presumably Charles) will swear loyalty to Parliament, and to the Church of England. He will also become the new Supreme Governor of the church. (Catholics cannot ascend to the throne.)

The council will also make a "Proclamation of Accession," to be read out on "Proclamation Day" soon after the death in London Edinburgh, Windsor, York, and other towns and villages throughout the country.

This was the most recent Proclamation, from when Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne:

Whereas it has pleased Almighty God to call to His Mercy our late Sovereign Lord King George the Sixth of Blessed and Glorious memory, by whose Decease the Crown is solely and rightfully come to the High and Mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary:

WE, therefore, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of this Realm, being here assisted with these His late Majesty's Privy Council, with representatives of other Members of the Commonwealth, with other Principal Gentlemen of Quality, with the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Citizens of London, do now hereby with one voice and Consent of Tongue and Heart publish and proclaim that the High and Mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary is now, by the death of our late Sovereign of happy memory, become Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of this Realm and of all Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, to whom Her lieges do acknowledge all Faith and constant Obedience with hearty and humble Affection, beseeching God by whom Kings and Queens do reign, to bless the Royal Princess Elizabeth the Second with long and happy Years to reign over us.

Charles won't necessarily become "King Charles," however. Upon ascending to the Throne, royals may pick their "regnal" name from any of their Christian or middle names. Arthur Bousfield and Gary Toffoli write that when Queen Elizabeth II was asked, she opted for "my own of course — what else?" But if Prince Charles felt inclined to change, as Charles Philip Arthur George, he could also be "King Philip," "King Arthur," or "King George."

The Queen's body will "lie in state"

As these discussions are ongoing, the Queen's coffin will be prepared to lie in state — that is, to be presented for public viewing so people can pay their respects.

Before this, however, both Houses of Parliament will sit, or be recalled if necessary. Members will have the opportunity to take a new oath of allegiance to the new Monarch. All MPs must swear allegiance to the present Monarch — though some republican MPs will cross their fingers when making the 500-year-old oath. Members of both houses will also present addresses of condolences and loyalty to the new Sovereign, a House of Lords spokesperson told me, in a format that is yet to be determined.

After this, both Houses will be suspended until after the official State Funeral.

The Queen's body will lie in state in Westminster Hall. There will be a short ceremony to mark the coffin's arrival, after which the public will be able to file past and pay their respects. The Hall will be open all but a single hour a day for the duration, the spokesperson says.

When the Queen Mother lay in state for three days, her grieving grandsons relieve the official guard to stand guard over the coffin for a short period; it was called the Vigil of the Princes. Something similar happened for George V. While not a formal ceremony, it's likely a similar act of remembrance would be accorded to Queen Elizabeth II. More than 200,000 members of the public paid their respects as the Queen Mother lay in state; the scale of mourning for the Queen should easily eclipse this.

Throughout this period, there will be a massive, hysterical outpouring of public grief. It won't just be sombre dress and a minute of silence at sports games — it'll be a punch to the gut of the national psyche.

RELATED: Queen Elizabeth's clothing exhibit

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Queen Elizabeth's wardrobe exhibit at Buckingham Palace
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Queen Elizabeth's wardrobe exhibit at Buckingham Palace
Caroline de Guitaut, Senior Curator at The Royal Collection, poses for a picture in the White Drawing Room with (L-R) an Auxiliary Territorial Service overalls and cap worn by Princess Elizabeth Whilst serving in the wartime ATS, a Pale Blue and gold evening dress by Sir Norman Hartnell, a Turquoise silk shift dress with silver floral embroidery by Hardy Amies, an Outfit and hat designed by Sir Norman Hartnell and Outfit and hat designed by Angela Kellyand during the exhibition preview for 'Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace in London on July 4, 2016. / AFP / Daniel Leal-Olivas (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
An Auxiliary Territorial Service overalls and cap worn by Princess Elizabeth Whilst serving in the wartime ATS is pictured during the exhibition preview for 'Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace in London on July 4, 2016. / AFP / Daniel Leal-Olivas (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Caroline de Guitaut, Senior Curator at The Royal Collection, poses for a picture in the White Drawing Room with (L-R) an Auxiliary Territorial Service overalls and cap worn by Princess Elizabeth Whilst serving in the wartime ATS, a Pale Blue and gold evening dress by Sir Norman Hartnell, a Turquoise silk shift dress with silver floral embroidery by Hardy Amies, an Outfit and hat designed by Sir Norman Hartnell and Outfit and hat designed by Angela Kellyand during the exhibition preview for 'Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace in London on July 4, 2016. / AFP / Daniel Leal-Olivas (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Caroline de Guitaut, Senior Curator at The Royal Collection, poses for a picture in the White Drawing Room with (L-R) an Auxiliary Territorial Service overalls and cap worn by Princess Elizabeth Whilst serving in the wartime ATS, a Pale Blue and gold evening dress by Sir Norman Hartnell, a Turquoise silk shift dress with silver floral embroidery by Hardy Amies, an Outfit and hat designed by Sir Norman Hartnell and Outfit and hat designed by Angela Kellyand during the exhibition preview for 'Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace in London on July 4, 2016. / AFP / Daniel Leal-Olivas (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: A conservator attends to a pale blue and gold evening dress by Sir Norman Hartnell during the press preview of 'Fashioning A Reign: 90 years Of Style From The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace on July 4, 2016 in London, England. This dress was worn by The Queen during state visit to The Netherlands in 1958. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: Detail of an outfit and hat designed by Sir Norman Hartnell worn by The Queen to the wedding of Princess Anne to Captain Mark Phillips at Westminster Abbey on 14 November 1973 during the press preview of 'Fashioning A Reign: 90 years Of Style From The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace on July 4, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: Detail of a pale blue and gold evening dress by Sir Norman Hartnell, worn by the Queen on a state visit to The Netherlands in 1958 during the press preview of 'Fashioning A Reign: 90 years Of Style From The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace on July 4, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: A conservator attends to turquoise silk shift dress with silver floral embroidery by Hardy Amies during the press preview of 'Fashioning A Reign: 90 years Of Style From The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace on July 4, 2016 in London, England. This dress was worn by The Queen for an official portrait in the White Drawing Room by Cecil Beaton, Buckingham palace in 1968. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: Detail of an outfit and hat designed by Sir Norman Hartnell worn by The Queen to the wedding of Princess Anne to Captain Mark Phillips at Westminster Abbey on 14 November 1973 during the press preview of 'Fashioning A Reign: 90 years Of Style From The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace on July 4, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: Detail of a turquoise silk shift dress with silver floral embroidery by Hardy Amies during the press preview of 'Fashioning A Reign: 90 years Of Style From The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace on July 4, 2016 in London, England. This dress was worn by The Queen for an official portrait in the White Drawing Room by Cecil Beaton, Buckingham palace in 1968. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: A conservator attends to outfits from the Queen's wardrobe during the press preview of 'Fashioning A Reign: 90 years Of Style From The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace on July 4, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: A general view of an Auxiliary Territorial Service overalls and cap worn by Princess Elizabeth whilst serving in the wartime ATS during the press preview of 'Fashioning A Reign: 90 years Of Style From The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace on July 4, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: Detail of an outfit and hat designed by Angela Kelly worn by The Queen to the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011 during the press preview of 'Fashioning A Reign: 90 years Of Style From The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace on July 4, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: A conservator attends to outfits from the Queen's wardrobe during the press preview of 'Fashioning A Reign: 90 years Of Style From The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace on July 4, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: A general view of a pale blue and gold evening dress by Sir Norman Hartnell, worn by the Queen on a state visit to The Netherlands in 1958 during the press preview of 'Fashioning A Reign: 90 years Of Style From The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace on July 4, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: A conservator attends to outfits from the Queen's wardrobe during the press preview of 'Fashioning A Reign: 90 years Of Style From The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace on July 4, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: A general view of an outfit and hat designed by Sir Norman Hartnell worn by The Queen to the wedding of Princess Anne to Captain Mark Phillips at Westminster Abbey on 14 November 1973 during the press preview of 'Fashioning A Reign: 90 years Of Style From The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace on July 4, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: A general view of an outfit and hat designed by Angela Kelly worn by The Queen to the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey on 29 April 2011 during the press preview of 'Fashioning A Reign: 90 years Of Style From The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace on July 4, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: A general view of an Auxiliary Territorial Service overalls and cap worn by Princess Elizabeth whilst serving in the wartime ATS during the press preview of 'Fashioning A Reign: 90 years Of Style From The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace on July 4, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: A conservator attends to outfits from the Queen's wardrobe during the press preview of 'Fashioning A Reign: 90 years Of Style From The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace on July 4, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: A conservator attends to turquoise silk shift dress with silver floral embroidery by Hardy Amies during the press preview of 'Fashioning A Reign: 90 years Of Style From The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace on July 4, 2016 in London, England. This dress was worn by The Queen for an official portrait in the White Drawing Room by Cecil Beaton, Buckingham palace in 1968. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 04: Detail of a pale blue and gold evening dress by Sir Norman Hartnell, worn by the Queen on a state visit to The Netherlands in 1958 during the press preview of 'Fashioning A Reign: 90 years Of Style From The Queen's Wardrobe' at Buckingham Palace on July 4, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
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When Princess Diana died, the public turned out in their tens of thousands to lay flowers outside Buckingham Palace — by some estimates as many as 1 million bouquets were left. A memorial appeal raised £20 million. People queued for ten hours or more to sign memorial books.

"Everything closed, saturation TV coverage, no one at work" on the day of the funeral, recounted one witness to the BBC (despite it not being a national holiday). There were "scenes of unbelievable grief," said another: "It was as though all of these people had lost someone incredible dear to them and their emotion was genuine. It worried me hugely — especially after days of mounting hysteria on the streets of Kensington, people walking into the road blinded by tears, etc. — people appeared to be losing their grip on reality."

The Guardian's Jonathan Freedland writes that many Britons felt "forced to close their shops or cancel sporting events on the day of the funeral, lest they feel the rage of the tear-stained hordes outside."

Given the Queen's stature, and how intrinsically she is woven into the fabric of modern Britain, it's likely there will be even greater public mourning for her passing.

It will be an extremely star-studded funeral

Queen Elizabeth II's body will continue to lie in state until the day of the funeral, which will be a public holiday. The Daily Mail believes this will be 12 days after the death. The coffin will then be transported to Westminster Abbey by gun carriage for a State Funeral.

It will probably be the best-attended funeral of all time. World leaders from across the globe will flock to attend. She's the most senior head of state in the world — on the throne for nearly 65 years.

The service will be led by Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the second-most senior figure in the Church of England (after the Monarch). According to The Daily Beast, the Queen has been actively involved in planning parts of her funeral, and has a "sanguine" view of her mortality.

On the day of Princess Diana's funeral, "more than a million people lined the route of the funeral cortege," according to the BBC, with 30 million Brits tuning in to watch it. Worldwide, there were as many as 2.5 billion viewers. The viewership of Queen Elizabeth II's funeral is likely to be equivalent, if not even more.

What about the Queen's final resting place?

Once the funeral is concluded, it'll be time for the burial. Queen Elizabeth II may well have already decided this — in which case it could either be Sandringham or Balmoral in Scotland. These two properties are unique in that they belong to the Queen in a personal capacity, rather than to the crown.

Alternately, she could be buried at St. George's Chapel at Windsor, the site of the grave of King George VI — her father.

After a certain appropriate period of mourning — up to a year or so — there will be a coronation. It's a highly ceremonial affair, although the new monarch technically has the ability to do whatever he wants — after all, he is already the King. Charles' authority as sovereign does not derive from the ceremony, so he could choose to eschew it altogether, should he desire.

But assuming Charles does not wish to totally break with tradition, it will — again — be held at Westminster Abbey. And, again, it will be officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The entire event will be broadcast on television (and also streamed online), and there will be parties up and down the country. After the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011, there were thousands of street parties celebrating. The same will be true of the coronation. As a national holiday, the Royal Wedding in 2011 lost the economy between £1.2 and 6 billion, and the Coronation will be similar — in addition to the direct cost to the taxpayer of holding the largest British ceremonial event since the 1950s.

The little things...

The Queen buried, a new King on the throne... is that it? Of course not.

There will be hundreds of changes taking place up and down the country in the weeks and months ahead.

First off, new currency will begin being printed and minted immediately. The portraits of Charles will already have been made in preparation. They won't seek to replace the entire stock of currency overnight, however — it will take several years to do so, much like how older notes and coins are gradually removed from circulation today.

Of course, the national anthem, "God Save The Queen," would change too. Here's Dame Julie Andrews singing "God Save The King" for George VI in 1948:

Even Trafalgar Square will change

Another unexpected change: Police will need new insignia on their helmets. They currently display the Queen's initials and regnal number. Likewise, a great deal of military insignia will require updating. Passports too will need a refresh. The British passport currently "requests and requires in the Name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance." Stamps will also need updating so that they show the new King's head rather than the Queen's.

These small changes matter more than you would expect. After the current Queen was crowned, her regnal number — II — caused controversy in Scotland, which she also rules, as there was never a Scottish Elizabeth I. When postboxes bearing her cypher were erected in Scotland, some were attacked and vandalised.

As signs of the Queen's reign are slowly erased, she will also be memorialised. The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square is currently dedicated to temporary statues and works of art, but former London Mayor Ken Livingstone says his understanding is that "the fourth plinth is being reserved for Queen Elizabeth II."

It may end the Commonwealth

The Queen's passing may have far more profound and long-lasting consequences than just new postage stamps, however. It may well spell the end of the Commonwealth as we know it.

The 53-country organisation includes 16 countries where the British Monarch is officially the Head of State, including Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand, and Barbados. It's a remnant of the British Empire which today exists mainly as a trade and political organisation. It has few formal powers but carries the weight of symbolism: Many of these countries were part of the Empire against their will, and almost all of them declared independence long ago.

With Queen Elizabeth II out of the way, some may choose to end this union with Britain once and for all.

Australia, for example, has already held a referendum on becoming a Republic once before, in 1999. It was a relatively close-run thing, with the republicans ultimately losing 45% to 55%. But much support for the Monarchy arguably derives from personal affection for the Queen herself. With her gone, many Commonwealth nations may decide the time has come to separate. In Canada, for example, there is speculation that the death of the Queen might prompt a severing of ties: "I think Charles might solve the problem," Ajax, Ontario mayor Steve Parish told The Guardian.

This also depends on the time of the Queen's death. Many politicians in Commonwealth countries — like former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott — are staunch monarchists, certain to try and block any attempt at Republicanism on their watch. But if the Queen's passing comes when politicians less enamoured with the monarchy are in office, resurgent republicanism may find a more receptive audience.

A republican Britain?

Depending on Charles' reign, republicanism may grow in prominence in Britain too. But there's no chance of Britain becoming a Republic in the near future. Support for the Monarch is deeply entrenched in the nation's psyche, with 66% of respondents in one survey saying Britain is better off as a Monarchy, and with just 17% opting for a Republic.

On September 9, 2015, Queen Elizabeth II broke the record set by her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, becoming the longest reigning British monarch ever.

And in December 2016, in an apparent concession to her age, the Queen announced she is stepping down as patron of a number of organisations she has supported, including charities and academic institutions.

Though her death is hopefully a long way off yet, it is definitely coming — and with it, the end of an epic chapter in Britain's history, and the start of a strange new one.

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