Dead Queen: Why are flags at half-mast and for how long?

Flag at half mast over Buckingham Palace after Queen Elizabeth II's death

The Union Jack flag hangs at half-mast following the death of Her Majesty the Queen (Picture: Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, 2022 at the age of 96.

It is a time of deep sadness for the nation, especially the new King Charles III and the royal family – who have lost a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Flags will be flown at half mast across the UK in respect for The Queen – including the Union Jack over Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Balmoral.

Indeed, countries around the world are lowering their own national flags as a sign of deep respect.

But what does “half mast” mean and why is this tradition done? And how long will it fly like this?

This is why.

Why are flags at half mast?


Queen Elizabeth II dead: what happens next?

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has passed away after 70 years on the throne, with her death announced by Buckingham Palace on September 8, 2022.

She died at the age of 96 at her home in Balmoral, with her son, now King Charles, and daughter Princess Anne by her side.

Follow Metro.co.uk’s live blog for the latest updates.

Flags are usually flown at half mast out of respect for a deceased person.

‘Half mast’ simply means below the top of the flagpole.

The UK government describes the exact positioning as ‘one third of the way down the flagpole from the top, with at least the height of the flag between the top of the flag and the top of the flagpole’.

Union Jack flag at half mast out of respect for The Queen

Flags across the country, like these houses in Pangbourne, have all been lowered (Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

in his guidelines for flag flying during this national mourning period, it adds: “On poles more than 45° from the vertical, flags should not be flown at half-mast and should not be flown at all.”

All official flags – the Union Jack, UK national flags, Crown Dependency and Overseas Territory flags – must be flown at half-mast in light of the Queen’s death.

According to the UK government’s website, ‘unofficial’ flags, such as Rainbow of Armed Forces Day, should be replaced with the Union Jack at half-mast.

Although there is no specific date, this tradition is believed to date back to the 17th century.

Flagmakers say some see the half-mast position as making room for “an invisible flag of death.”

Flags at half-mast outside the Parliament of Wales

Official flags flown at half-mast outside the Senedd, also known as the Parliament of Wales (Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

How long do flags fly at half-mast in honor of the Queen?

Flags at Royal Residences are flown at half-mast until 8 a.m. the day after the official royal mourning period.

The period lasts, as the King wishes, from now until seven days after the Queen’s state funeral.

However, for many it seems like flags should be flown at half mast until 8 a.m. the day after the funeral.

LAKE : What time do the gun salutes and bells ring on the Queen’s death?

MORE: Joe Biden Says Queen ‘set an era’ and orders flags at half-mast until her funeral

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