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Queen's death brings UK to a standstill

Rob Mudge
September 9, 2022

From politics to sports and culture, events have been canceled or rescheduled as the national mourning period for the queen begins. Here are some of the major activities that have been called off.

A tribute to Queen Elizabeth II is on display on giant screen in Piccadilly Circus
Public life has come to a standstill in the UK following the queen's deathImage: Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Wire/IMAGO


Business as usual has been put on hold, as government activities are scaled back during the 10-day mourning period. The usual government press releases, announcements and visits will be paused.

Friday's House of Commons sitting has been moved to 12 p.m. instead of the planned 9:30 a.m. starting time. Both Houses of Parliament, the Commons and the Lords, will come together to allow members of parliament and peers to pay tribute to the queen in a session due to last until 10 p.m. New Prime Minister Liz Truss will lead the tributes.

Parliament will gather for a rare sitting on Saturday to pay further tribute. The session will end with a "formal humble address" to King Charles III, "expressing the deep sympathy of the House" on the queen's death, according to a statement from the House of Commons.

Once these sessions have concluded, Parliament is set to adjourn for the 10-day mourning period. However, given the severity of the impact of the energy crisis on UK households, ministers are reportedly working behind the scenes to assess whether the legislation needed to act on the government's plans should be tabled during the mourning period. Other decisions on further postponements and changes are pending.

A flag flying at half mast on the Houses of Parliament in London.
UK government business will be put on hold during the 10-day mourning periodImage: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images


Planned strikes by rail and postal staff over a protracted dispute concerning pay and working conditions have been postponed. The Communication Workers Union, which represents postal workers, has canceled a planned strike, while the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union has suspended its strikes planned for next week.


The day of the queen's funeral, mooted as being September 19, will be a day of national mourning and a nationwide bank holiday. This means shops and banks will be closed. The London Stock Exchange will also close for trading on that day and possibly beyond, which could potentially have a major impact on the economy.

The Bank of England, which was due to announce its next interest rate decision rate next Thursday, has now pushed back that meeting by a week to September 22.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, dressed in yellow, standing next to a jockey.
Horse-racing events, a favorite of the queen, have been canceled along with other major eventsImage: Reuters/E. Keogh

Major sporting events

The English Football League (EFL) had already canceled two Friday games, one in the Championship, the second-highest league after the Premier League, the other in League Two, the third tier of the Football League. The Premier League and the EFL have now called off all weekend fixtures.

All horse-racing events, a particular favorite of the queen, have been called off. The second day of the PGA Golf Championship has also been canceled, while there will be no play on the second day of the test cricket match between England and South Africa. In the meantime, the England Cricket Board has announced that the match will resume on Saturday. The opening day on Thursday was washed out and there will not be an added day which means it's now a three-day series as opposed to the usual five days.

It's worth pointing out that there is nothing within the official mourning guidance that obliges sports organizations to cancel their events. "There is no obligation to cancel or postpone sporting fixtures... this is at the discretion of individual organisations," reads the guidance.

All sports fixtures will be canceled on the day of the funeral.

Culture events

Theater performances will continue, but venues will be dimming their lights and observing a minute's silence. The national anthem will be played before performances.

Meanwhile, the Royal Albert Hall has announced that Saturday's Last Night Of The Proms, the closing event of the BBC Proms, a series of daily classical music concerts held every summer, has been canceled.

Following the announcement of the queen's death, the prestigious Mercury Prize, awarded annually for the best album released in the UK, was postponed on Thursday as audience members were already in their seats.