Queen Elizabeth has died: What happens now?

Queen Elizabeth II has died peacefully at her home in Balmoral at the age of 96. She was our longest-serving monarch, with now many questions arising as to what the Commonwealth should expect now.

Video transcript

- Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has died peacefully at her home in Balmoral, Scotland at age 96. Her passing has been carefully planned for years, and there are very specific royal protocols and plans that came into play before the public were even notified of her passing.

These plans are code named Operation London Bridge, and when members of the royal household are told London Bridge is down, they swing into action. Firstly, Sir Edward Young, the Queen's private secretary, informed the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of the monarch's, death before informing 15 other countries, including Australia where the Queen is head of state, and the rest of the 36 Commonwealth nations.

So what happens next? The public are notified. Official notification of the Queen's passing has been posted onto the gates of Buckingham Palace. When the Prime Minister makes a statement, there will be a gun salute, and the United Kingdom will hold a minute of silence.

As soon as Her Majesty died, Prince Charles became King. It's believed he will be pronounced King the day after her death at 11:00 AM at St. James Palace. But his coronation will take planning and could be months later. Charles will also be able to choose his name, and he has chosen King Charles III.

London and cities around Great Britain and the Commonwealth have lowered flags to half mast, and bells will toll in churches around the royal cities of London, Windsor, and Balmoral in Scotland. Businesses, theaters, and some sporting events will likely close or be canceled.

Two days after her death, the Queen's body will be returned to Buckingham Palace for her family to spend time with her and say their goodbyes. Five days after her passing, her body is moved by procession to Westminster Hall, where she will lie in state for the public to pay their respects.

Before his mother's funeral, Charles, as the new king, will visit leaders in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the British Isles, attend church services, and go out to meet the general public. The Queen's funeral will be held on the 10th day after her death. It will be a day of mourning and will most likely be declared a national holiday in the UK and probably Australia as well, with most businesses such as banks and the Stock Exchange closing out of respect.

The state funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey, with heads of states from around the world in attendance. After her funeral, the Queen's body will be transported from Westminster Abbey in London to Windsor Castle, so she can be laid in her final resting place in the royal vault. Prince William will gain his father's current title, the Prince of Wales, first in line to the throne, while Catherine will become the Princess of Wales.

Finally, there may be some changes for Australia. While countries in the Commonwealth have been loyal to their longest serving monarch, they may not be as open to King Charles and Queen Camilla. Some may feel the time is right to change their head of state and become a republic, or even leave the Commonwealth altogether.