The Royal Family’s mourning period for Queen Elizabeth II and tradition explained – Heart

23 September 2022, 12:15

The Royal Family's mourning period will last until September 26
The Royal Family’s mourning period will last until September 26. Picture: Getty

How long does the Royal Family’s mourning period last and what is the history behind the tradition?

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III announced a mourning period for the nation which latest until the state funeral on September 19.

However, the Royal Family will stay in the mourning period for more time and will follow the rules for several more days.

King Charles III announced the Queen’s mourning period on September 9, the day following Her Majesty’s death.

From the Royal Family’s longer mourning period to the history of the tradition, here’s everything you need to know.

King Charles III addresses the nation on September 9, the day following the Queen's death
King Charles III addresses the nation on September 9, the day following the Queen’s death. Picture: Getty

How long is the Royal Family’s mourning period for Queen Elizabeth II?

The day following the death of the Queen, September 9, King Charles III announced that a national period of mourning would last until the day of the state funeral.

This took place on September 19, eleven days following Her Majesty’s death.

While the nation came out of mourning period on Tuesday, September 20, the Royal Family continue to partake in the period of mourning until September 26.

This is why the Prince and Princess of Wales were dressed in black for their visit to Windsor Guildhall to thank volunteers and organisers for their work on the Queen’s committal service at St George’s Chapel.

The Princess of Wales, Camilla Queen Consort, the Duchess of Sussex, Sophie Wessex, Prince George and Princess Charlotte attend the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II
The Princess of Wales, Camilla Queen Consort, the Duchess of Sussex, Sophie Wessex, Prince George and Princess Charlotte attend the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II. Picture: Getty

What are the Royal Family rules of mourning?

During the period of mourning, the Royal Family follow a number of guidelines.

For example, they will wear black or dark colours during outings.

They will also only take part in royal engagements which are relevant to the death of the Monarch.

Following the Queen’s death, King Charles III announced: “Following the death of Her Majesty the Queen, it is His Majesty the King’s wish that a period of royal mourning be observed from now until seven days after the Queen’s Funeral.

“Royal mourning will be observed by members of the Royal Family, Royal Household staff and representatives of the Royal Household on official duties, together with troops committed to ceremonial duties.”

Queen Elizabeth II dresses in mourning clothing as she attends the funeral of her father, King George VI
Queen Elizabeth II dresses in mourning clothing as she attends the funeral of her father, King George VI. Picture: Getty

Elements of the royal household also change, including the use of black-edged writing paper during the mourning period.

Across social media, the Royal Family pages will reflect the mourning period with tributes to the late Monarch across profile pictures.

Queen Victoria dresses in mourning clothing following the death of her husband
Queen Victoria dresses in mourning clothing following the death of her husband. Picture: Getty

What is the history of the mourning period?

How long the mourning period lasts is a decision made by the new King or Queen following the Monarch’s death.

For example, in 1952 when the Queen’s father, King George VI, died, she put in place a mourning period of 16 weeks.

It appears the length of the mourning period has decreased over time, especially considering that when George V died in 1936, the mourning period lasted six months, followed by three months of half-mourning.

As well, when Queen Victoria’s husband Albert died in 1861, she wore black mourning clothing for 40 years.

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