Government publishes list of dos and don'ts of national mourning

Government publishes list of dos and don'ts of national mourning

September 10, 2022

A guide to mourning the Queen’s death: Government publishes list of official dos and don’ts of national mourning, including adding black banners to websites as a mark of respect – but DON’T cover portraits or send flowers to royal residences

  • A list of national mourning dos and don’ts has been published by Cabinet Office 
  • Public and businesses told not to cover or remove any portraits of the Queen 
  • People should also not be sending floral tributes to royal residences at this time
  • Guidance outlines how individuals and organisations can mourn late monarch 
  • Full coverage: Click here to see all our coverage of the Queen’s passing

The public have been told not to cover or remove portraits of the Queen or send flowers to royal residences during the official mourning period. 

According to guidance for the public and businesses, there are several dos and don’ts to follow during the official mourning period, which will last until the end of the day of the Queen’s funeral. 

The ‘national mourning guidance’ document published by the Cabinet Office outlines how individuals and businesses can mourn the death of the longest-serving monarch. 

The document states that there is no obligation to cover or remove existing official portraits or photographs of the Queen

The public has also been asked not to send flowers to royal residences or government offices at the request of the Royal Household 

The document states that there is no obligation to cover or remove existing official portraits or photographs of the Queen and it is down to their discretion whether they should remain. 

‘It is the custom to leave these in place, at the discretion of the organisation,’ it reads. ‘For example, you will still see in many older public buildings official portraits on display of King George VI and other previous monarchs.’ 

The public has also been asked not to send flowers to royal residences or government offices at the request of the Royal Household. 

Instead, they are encouraged to lay floral tributes at key locations including a specially made memorial flower garden in Green Park near Buckingham Palace and on the Long Walk at Cambridge Gate close to the town centre in Windsor.  

In Sandringham, flowers can be laid on the estate and visitors will be director to the correct location. Flowers can also be laid at Hillsborough Castle in Belfast, the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, and in areas either side of the City Hall entrance in Cardiff. 

Floral tributes can also be laid at the Main Gate to Balmoral. 

There are also no physical books of condolence, with the public asked to pay their respects via the Royal family website

The logo on the Royal Family website has been changed to black to reflect the mourning period 

The document also states that there is ‘no obligation’ for events of sporting fixtures to be cancelled, or for entertainment venues to be closed during the national mourning period. 

The decision to postpone or cancel events, or close venues is down to the owner, but the guidance suggests that they should consider postponing or cancelling events on the day of the funeral. 

If sporting fixtures are planned on the day of the funeral, guidance suggests that organisations could adjust the timings so that they do not clash with the funeral, and that they may hold a period of silence or play the National anthem before they begin ‘as a mark of respect’. 

Organisations can acknowledge the mourning period by adding black edging or banners to their website, the advice states.

‘Online communication channels can also be used to reflect the demise of Her Majesty and participate in the period of national mourning,’ it reads.

‘Organisations can acknowledge the mourning period by making changes to the homepage of their website, for example, with the use of black edging or black banners.

Key locations have been set up for the public to lay floral tributes to the Queen 

‘Organisations and individuals may also wish to share their memories of Her Majesty online. There is no set way to mark the passing of Her Majesty on social media. Organisations may wish to review their planned content for the period.’

There are also no physical books of condolence, with the public asked to pay their respects via the Royal family website.

However, a person or organisation may open their own book of condolence. 

Guidance states that the layout of the table is ‘usually a trestle table on  which the book is placed with a white tablecloth, an arrangement of flowers (usually lilies or other white flowers) and a framed formal photograph of Her Majesty.’

‘This could be an official portrait photograph, or one taken at a previous Royal visit. As a mark of respect, a black ribbon could be wrapped around the top right hand corner,’ it adds. 

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