The Sunday Telegraph

Royal duties suspended for two weeks of mourning

- By Gordon Rayner ASSOCIATE EDITOR

THE QUEEN will spend two weeks in mourning following the death of her husband, Buckingham Palace announced.

The Queen and other members of the Royal family will carry out no official duties that do not relate to the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral. It means no new laws can be given royal assent.

All members of the Royal family will be expected to wear black or dark clothes, or a black armband if wearing a military uniform, and black-edged stationery will be used for all communicat­ions relating to the Duke’s death.

Between now and 8am on the morning after the Duke’s funeral, the country will be in national mourning, meaning flags will be flown at half mast and much of the Government’s work will be put on hold.

When the rest of the country comes out of mourning, the Royal family will remain in royal mourning, also known as court mourning, on the instructio­ns of the Queen. All social engagement­s are cancelled along with official engagement­s, unless they relate to the death of the Duke.

The period of royal mourning will end on Thursday April 22, two weeks after the Duke’s death.

The Duke of Cambridge pulled out of this weekend’s Bafta awards ceremonies, and the Prince of Wales will cancel a planned visit to one of London’s public parks next Tuesday to thank staff for maintainin­g the capital’s green spaces during the Covid pandemic.

Because of Covid restrictio­ns, churches and public buildings have been told not to open books of condolence for the Duke. Government guidance states that an online book of condolence, opened on the Royal family’s official website on Friday night, should be the sole portal for the public to express personal tributes.

Official flags, including the Union flag, are being flown at half mast on government buildings apart from the royal standard, which is flown above royal palaces when the Queen is in residence and never flies at half mast, as it is a symbol of the continuati­on of the monarchy.

The College of Arms has said that any non-official flags, such as armed forces flags, should be taken down and replaced with a Union flag or a national flag of the home nations.

Buckingham Palace has not ruled out a televised message to the nation from the Queen in tribute to her late husband. A nationwide one-minute silence will be held in the Duke’s honour at 3pm next Saturday as his funeral gets under way.

A similar gesture was made on the day of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

A seven-page document sent to government department­s states that “department­s communicat­ing directly with the Royal Household should use black-edged stationery during the period of National Mourning on matters relating to demise.”

Ministers and officials involved in public events related to the Duke must wear a dark suit and black tie or a dark day dress, with a dark coat, and a dark hat and gloves if they wish to.

MPs are expected to wear black armbands three and a quarter inches wide on their left arm while they are at work, and jockeys, footballer­s, cricketers and rugby players will all wear black armbands for sporting fixtures taking place this weekend.

Arrangemen­ts for changing photograph­s of the Duke in official buildings will be announced following the lifting of Covid restrictio­ns in June.

MPs have been recalled on Monday, a day early, from their Easter break, to pay tribute to the Duke in the Commons.

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