Death of the Queen/President

Of course, no British monarch has died since 1952 and no sitting American President since 1963. The next time it happens, what is likely to happen? Specifically, will media coverage be like 9/11 (all channels pretty much pre-empted for a week) or will it be more restrained? What will international coverage look like? How long will the official period of mourning be and what will be involved?

Depends on what the cause of death is. If the Queen dies quietly in her sleep, versus being blown up by a terrorist, I would expect the coverage to be very different. Same thing goes for the sitting President, or a past President. If you remember what happened when Princess Diana died that should give you an idea of the extent of coverage to expect when a monarch or president dies in an accident. If they die in a terrorist attack I would expect something more like what we saw with 9/11.

Yeah, I don’t think the Queen dying of old age will as big a deal as an unexpected death. While there may be some pomp and circumstance it’s not as if the entire British government will be drastically changed as a result either. It would be more similar to the death of an ex-president than one who dies in office.

A British monarch died in 1972.

Regardless of what happens, in the UK at least, the death of the Queen will be a huge thing. It’ll be a cultural milestone I think, like the Coronation of 1952. I think the monarchy’s safe and Charles will be an adequate king but he doesn’t have the same gravitas and popularity of his mother. So much has changed in the past sixty years and the monarch’s always stayed the same, so this will be almost akin to a link to the past being severed.

Since this requires speculation, let’s move it to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

The Duke of Windsor was not a monarch when he died, but a duke.

Definitely depends on circumstances.

If Air Force One disappeared over the Pacific Ocean, there would certainly be a huge media reaction, with full saturation coverage on every channel.

OTOH, if the president was diagnosed with cancer and spent the next couple of years slowly withering away, then I imagine the reaction would be much more subdued, altho I would still expect at least a “Breaking News” crawl at the bottom of the screen when word broke that he had actually died.

An English Nazi duke died in 1972.

He was infact a British Monarch, not just a reigning one.:wink:

Media and social reaction depends entirely on the circumstances. Sudden? Violent? Unexpected?

Is anyone going to be shocked when the Queen dies? Of course not. She’s almost 90. But it will still garner huge headlines, tributes and retrospectives. Her funeral will be broadcast on television worldwide and there will be a million stories about Charles becoming King and what it means for the future of the monarchy. But practically speaking, not much changes as far as everyday life in Britain.

A President dying in office is much different. As others have said, it depends on the circumstances. When Kennedy was assassinated people were glued to their televisions for four days because it was so shocking and there were so many unknowns.

I’d say the most recent “big” funeral was Pope John Paul II’s in 2005. He had been Pope for twenty-seven years and was a well-known figure. But even so there wasn’t round-the-clock coverage of his funeral.

In the case of the Queen, assuming her death is itself unremarkable, the obvious comparisons will be John Paul II and Nelson Mandela. Like them, she is mega-famous, has had a long and interesting life and her funeral will be huge.

Actually, it will be the innumerable minor changes to everyday life that will probably generate the most interest. Basic stuff, such as the new banknotes, coins, stamps etc, will create acres of media coverage in Britain for months on end.

I think another good comparison would be her mother. Certainly she wasn’t a reigning monarch, which would obviously make a difference, but I think she had the same sort of respect that the Queen does.
It’ll be a sad affair, but I don’t think there’ll be huge outpourings of grief, a la Diana. As has been pointed out, she’s almost ninety so nobody can say she hasn’t had a good run.
The fallout from her death would be mainly formal than anything related to day to day matters (coins, stamps etc notwithstanding), unlike if a sitting president suddenly died.

So think of the Queen Mother’s funeral, make it (probably much) bigger, throw in a load of foreign dignitaries (maybe the prez will turn up for this one), and you’ve got the fixings for a Royal funeral. Give it a year or so of related stories (the coronation, the first issuing of new coins etc, some parliamentary stuff), and it’ll be back to business as usual.

When Kennedy was killed, there was wall-to-wall TV on all three channels. It was the 1963 equivalent of 9/11.

A monarch is by definition reigning.


That’s a good question really. LBJ didn’t go to the last State Funeral in the UK (Churchill). I wonder what the protocol is for that kind of thing.

I don’t know official protocol either, but I would be shocked if the President did not attend the funeral for the Head of State of our most important ally, especially one with as long a reign as Elizabeth’s. Eisenhower attended the funeral of her father.

I think it’s kind of expected for a head of state to attend the funerals of other (major) HOS; I think it would be seen as odd if the US President didn’t attend the Queen’s funeral.
The UK situation is slightly different; the current Prime Minister isn’t officially head of state, that’s what the Queen is there for. The Prime Minister is just the one in charge of the government - kind of like the CEO of a company.

That said, I doubt the Queen would attend the US President’s funeral, even if he died in office; she’s just too old. A Transatlantic flight is too much of a risk for someone of that age. I expect Charles would go in her place (probably with the PM in tow).
She didn’t attend JFK’s funeral, either; she was 5 months pregnant at the time. Prince Phillip and the then current PM attended instead.