Queen death: Why are flags flying at half mast and for how long?

The flag at half-mast over Buckingham Palace after the death of Queen Elizabeth II

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

Queen Elizabeth II died, aged 96, on September 8, 2022.

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

Across the UK, flags will be flown at half-mast in deference to the Queen – including the Union Jack over Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Balmoral.

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

But what does “half verse” mean and why does this tradition take place? And how long have they been flying like this?

Here’s why.

Why are flags flying at half mast?


Queen Elizabeth II Dead: What Happens Next?

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has died after 70 years on the throne, with her death announced by Buckingham Palace on 8 September 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 the Metro.co.uk live blog for the latest updates.

Flags are flown at half-staff usually out of respect for a person who has died.

“Half-mast” means simply below the top position of the flagpole.

The UK government describes the exact placement 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”.

The Union Jack flag was flown at half-mast out of respect for the Queen

Flags across the country, like these houses in Pangbourne, have all come down (Image: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Inside guidance on flying the flag during this period of national mourning, adds: “On poles more than 45° from the vertical, flags may not be flown at half-mast and should not be flown at all.”

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

“Unofficial” flags such as the Rainbow or Armed Forces Day should be replaced with the Union Jack at half-mast, according to the UK government’s website.

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

Flagbearers say some see the half-mast position as creating space for “an invisible death flag.”

Flags at half mast outside the Welsh Parliament

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

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

Flags at the Royal Residences will fly at half-mast until 8am. the day after the official period of royal mourning.

The period will last, in accordance with the King’s wishes, from now until seven days after the Queen’s state funeral.

However, it seems to many that flags should be flown at half-mast until 8am the day after the funeral.

MORE : What time do the gun salutes and bells ring to mark the Queen’s death?

MORE: Joe Biden says Queen ‘defined an era’ and orders flags at half-staff until her funeral

Follow Metro on our social channels, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Share your views in the comments below

Leave a Comment