The Sussex Circus

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I said a couple times during the mourning period for Queen Elizabeth that I would circle back on the full scope of the Sussex drama that played out over the last month. So, here we are. I’m going to attempt to take this piece by piece, so this is somewhat digestible.

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The Waleses in Wales

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The dust is starting to somewhat settle. The official mourning period for Queen Elizabeth ended on Monday night, which means that engagements are beginning to be added back to the calendar – some are related to the new normal and some are traditional commitments. I don’t generally cover one-off engagements anymore; however, I do want to chime in on The Prince and Princess of Wales’s visit to Wales yesterday and take a moment to zoom in on this couple and family in light of this month’s rather seismic events.

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The Funeral of Elizabeth II (Sept. 16-19)

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Yesterday saw the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey, followed by a committal service of her coffin to St George’s Chapel at Windsor. In the evening, after the public events, Queen Elizabeth was privately laid to the rest alongside her parents, George VI and The Queen Mother, her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, and her late sister, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon.

The Brits do their ceremonies very well, so, unsurprisingly, yesterday was executed flawlessly. I’m going to break up information into sections, and then backtrack a bit to cover the vigils that occurred over the weekend.

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A Title Explainer

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There’s a lot of confusion out there right now about the various titles and how this all works, so I thought I’d summarize it as briefly as I can. Part of the issue – besides, of course, the fact that this is quite literally a foreign concept in many countries – is that the succession has been relatively stagnant for several years, and so individuals are so closely associated with certain titles. In fact, titles are inherently dynamic (pun kind of intended).

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UK Engagements, Odds & Ends

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Today is a “day of rest” for Charles III and Queen Camilla after a whirlwind six days overseeing the accession and the beginning of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral procession. After yesterday’s service, the King retired to Highgrove in Gloucestershire, while the Queen went to the estate in Wiltshire she’s owned since prior to her marriage into the Royal Family.

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An Explanation of the Windsor Name

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As many of us know, the current Royal Family is known as the House of Windsor. Their family name, by default, is Mountbatten-Windsor. These are, essentially, made up stylings. I thought I’d offer a quick explainer on why in light of the new reign of Charles III.

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Elizabeth II’s Funeral Procession (Sept. 11-14)

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I’m going to use this post to cover Queen Elizabeth’s funeral procession over the next six days, beginning with the events of Sunday and ending with the lying-in over this coming weekend. I will cover her funeral on Monday, September 19 in a separate post, as well as any odds and ends that crop up in the meantime.

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Where in the World (er, England) are the Royals Living?

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Ok, so this is going to be one of those speculative posts where I *could* just wait a few days or weeks for the actual answer, but instead I’m going to write a few hundred words wondering, in this case, what’s going to happen to the traditional royal residences in the reign of Charles III. A few years back I wrote a post on whether or not Charles would take over Buckingham Palace from Queen Elizabeth based on the fact that there were a few news stories out at the time that reported he was considering keeping Clarence House as his home and converting Buckingham Palace only into office space and, of course, using the State Rooms for official functions. Unfortunately I can’t find it anywhere, and the issue seems to have evolved since.

So, let’s get into it, starting with what everyone’s current arrangements are.

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Operation Unicorn

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The plan for Queen Elizabeth’s death has famously been known as “London Bridge,” however the specific contingency plan for what happens if she died in Scotland is known as Operation Unicorn. As such, Operation Unicorn is well underway. While King Charles takes on the business of sovereign in London, details of which you can read here, his mother will embark on her last journey this weekend.

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The Accession of Charles III (Sept. 8-10)

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The day isn’t over yet, but as we move into what are essentially logistics, I want to leave the previous post as is – a short capsule of a few tension-laden hours. King Charles is expected to make a statement shortly, as is Prime Minister Truss. At 6:30 PM GMT, as the official statement announcing the Queen Elizabeth’s death was released, the Union flags were lowered to half-mast.

Within minutes of the announcement, William and Kate’s social media accounts were updated to read “The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge.” The Clarence House accounts, belonging to Charles & Camilla, still read – as of me writing this – “The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.” The official accounts for The Royal Family are now theirs. It’s unclear whether they will archive, etc. Frankly, I don’t really care about that right now. Even more, I would have preferred that the Kensington Palace team waited a beat longer. The security of the accession doesn’t rest on social media. Perhaps I will feel differently tomorrow.

As background, Charles’s elevation to king is automatic. As such, so too is William’s elevation to Duke of Cornwall, as the monarch’s eldest son. In order for William to become Prince of Wales, he will have to be formally invested as such. That *usually* comes after the coronation, but it bears repeating that after a 70-year reign, there is no such thing as usual anymore. Or, more accurately, “usual” is a less stringent guidepost than it would once have been.

Needless to say, amidst the sadness, this is all going to be fascinating to watch.

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