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Queen Elizabeth II: the royal mourning period explained

Her Majesty died on 8 September

royal mourning period
Phoebe Tatham
Phoebe TathamContent Writer
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The royal family are grieving the loss of the late Queen who sadly died on 8 September at her beloved Balmoral residence.

READ: Mike Tindall breaks silence after emotional appearance at Queen's state funeral

While Her Majesty's poignant funeral on Monday marked the end of a public ten-day period of mourning, members of the royal family will remain in 'royal mourning' for a further six days until Monday 26 September.

WATCH: How the Queen's funeral unfolded

HELLO!'s royal editor, Emily Nash, said it will be a "period of reflection", a time to "recover" from an incredibly busy and emotional week for the royal family, which has seen them attend a number of commemorative services and vigils in honour of the late monarch.

MORE: Why Sarah Ferguson attended the Queen's funeral – but not Prince Philip's

MORE: Why did the royal ladies wear gloves at the Queen's funeral?

We take a deep dive into the long-standing tradition, shining a light on the various practices and lesser-known details.

Who dictates the royal mourning period?

Following the heartbreaking death of the late monarch, the Queen's eldest son King Charles III triggered a period of royal mourning.

king charles© Photo: Getty Images

King Charles III is grieving the death of his mother

The length of time spent in Mourning has varied throughout history, with the details decided on by the new monarch. In a statement, the Palace said: "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."

After George V's death in January 1936, the court, on the orders of Edward VIII, went into full Court Mourning for six months, followed by three months of half-mourning.

MORE: Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie spark confusion at the Queen's funeral

And when George VI died in February 1952, the royals, on the order of Elizabeth II, observed Court Mourning for just over 16 weeks.

Which members of the royal family partake in the tradition?

The royal mourning period is observed by members of the royal family and their households, together with troops committed to ceremonial duties. Flags will remain half-masted at Royal residences until 8am on the morning after the final day of royal mourning.

prince harry royal family windsor© Photo: Getty Images

Members of the royal family will observe the mourning period

As part of the mourning period royal households will use black-edged writing paper – occasionally with the width reducing as the mourning progresses.

Official engagements may be carried out, although they are often cancelled or postponed. Social engagements are usually cancelled unless they are in aid of charity.

What is the dress code?

During this period, members of the royal family will continue undertaking engagements appropriate to the circumstances but they should wear black as a sign of mourning.

We can expect to see men wearing dark suits and black ties while royal women will be wearing black outfits - usually dresses.

kate middleton sophie wessex© Photo: Getty Images

It is traditional to wear black clothing

Troops taking part in ceremonial events will be expected to wear black armbands and ties, with their drums draped in black.

queen victoria© Photo: Getty Images

Queen Victoria mourned the death of her husband

A grief-stricken Queen Victoria famously wore black clothing for 40 years as she mourned the death of her beloved consort Albert.

When will we next see the royals?

No doubt mentally and physically exhausted by the events of the past two weeks, it will likely be some time before the royals return to their duties.

royal family committal service© Photo: Getty Images

The royal family attended the Queen's state funeral on Monday

Royal editor Emily Nash said: "There were due to be tours this autumn, whether or not any of those will still go ahead remains to be seen.

"There will be lots of changes going on behind the scenes within the royal household and I think that they will be wanting to get used to their new situation and all of those changes and taking a little bit of time over those."

king charles military uniform© Photo: Getty Images

King Charles III has yet to announce his coronation date

At some point soon the royal family will reunite once again to support King Charles III at his coronation. While the date hasn’t yet been announced, it will likely take place at Westminster Abbey which has played host to coronations for the past 900 years.

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