Buckingham Palace has announced this evening that Her Majesty the Queen has died peacefully at the age of 96 at Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire.
Her children – her successor the Prince of Wales, now King Charles, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex – flying to Scotland this afternoon to be at her bedside after it had been revealed earlier in the day that doctors were closely monitoring her condition.
And with BBC News and other outlets striking a sombre tone with blanket coverage and presenters dressed in black, many people commenting on social media from around the world had feared the worst.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the throne in 1952 following the death of her father, King George VI, and was crowned at Westminster Abbey the following year and celebrated her Platinum Jubilee earlier this year.
The UK’s longest-serving monarch, she was a constant presence in the UK and other dependencies, territories and, as head of state, Commonwealth Countries around the world for more than seven decades.
As such, her death, while not unexpected given her declining health in recent months, will send shockwaves through those countries, and nowhere more so than in the UK.
In 2017, the Guardian published an article detailing longstanding plans codenamed Operation London Bridge of what would happen after her death, with her funeral scheduled to take place at Westminster Abbey on the ninth day following the one on which it was announced, with today counting as Day 0.
In accordance with that timetable, it would therefore happen on Saturday 17 September.
Ahead of the funeral, a large part of central London would be closed down to enable preparations to be made for her lying in state in Westminster Hall – the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster, situated on Parliament Square – and the funeral itself, which would follow a route from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey via the Mall and Horse Guards Parade.
What that means in practical terms will be that a number of roads in the centre of the capital will be closed, some for possibly several weeks, and we would expect Transport for London to confirm exact details of those closures shortly.
They would certainly include the central section of the protected Cycleway 3, the route of which passes both Buckingham Palace and Parliament Square, as well as Wellington Barracks where many of the troops who provide ceremonial duties in London are based.
And while the Guardian article that we linked above reports that under Operation London Bridge there is no official obligation for sporting fixtures to be cancelled or abandoned, the likelihood is that some organisers or national federations may decide to do so unilaterally.
That of course has implications for the Tour of Britain, which is due to end on the Isle of Wight on Sunday, and we have contacted organisers of the race to clarify the situation.
According to that same Guardian article, “All games, including golf, will be banned in the Royal Parks” – although it is unclear whether that would also apply to recreational cycling, with London’s Richmond and Regent’s Park both hugely popular with road cyclists, often riding together as members of clubs or in informal chain gangs.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.