March 16, 2017

"When the Queen dies... a footman in mourning clothes will emerge from a door at Buckingham Palace, cross the dull pink gravel and pin a black-edged notice to the gates."

"While he does this, the palace website will be transformed into a sombre, single page, showing the same text on a dark background...."
Britain’s commercial radio stations have a network of blue “obit lights”, which is tested once a week and supposed to light up in the event of a national catastrophe. When the news breaks, these lights will start flashing, to alert DJs to switch to the news in the next few minutes and to play inoffensive music in the meantime. Every station, down to hospital radio, has prepared music lists made up of “Mood 2” (sad) or “Mood 1” (saddest) songs to reach for in times of sudden mourning. “If you ever hear Haunted Dancehall (Nursery Remix) by Sabres of Paradise on daytime Radio 1, turn the TV on,” wrote Chris Price, a BBC radio producer, for the Huffington Post in 2011. “Something terrible has just happened.”

33 comments:

Bad Lieutenant said...

Where the hell does this come from? Is she sick?

rhhardin said...

They could play operas. They're usually sad.

rhhardin said...

She's pretty old, apparently the inbreeding of good genes.

Earnest Prole said...

Go, Little Queenie

rhhardin said...

Elizabeth Vagina, feminist.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

So we'll soon be stuck with Charles? Shudder.

rehajm said...

If you have watched The Crown on Netflix they dramatize in detail how this protocol plays out both within the inner circle and with the media. ...and also what can go wrong...

What strikes me is how absurdly long ago it was last used.

rhhardin said...

Radio Moscow would telegraph leader deaths with sombre music too.

rhhardin said...

Then they'll paint Queen Elizabeth out of all the photos.

traditionalguy said...

She's trying hard to outlive Charles and Camilla.

If I were Kate, I would not be riding in any chauffeured Mercedes with computer controls that can be overridden by MI6 hackers and driven into bridge abutments by drone controls.

rhhardin said...

For 12 hours, everybody drives on the right.

rhhardin said...

Next her entry in the wax museum is melted down.

rhhardin said...

The London bridge is left in the raised position for two weeks.

Unknown said...

She's a canny old bird and will be missed when she passes (hopefully many years from now). Who can forget how she handled the first Scotland crisis? She was forbidden from saying anything political, but who could object to "People should think very carefully" followed by Sunday services at a Scottish church? After all, she's Queen and can go to church anywhere she likes.

The Anglosphere folks have been talking about a "Realm" union after Brexit. They's better hurry, somehow I don't think Oz or NZ would see Charles as an inducement to get on with that.

rhhardin said...

Finally the remains are carved into 21 pieces and shot by cannons into the Thames.

tcrosse said...

What will they do with all those hats ?

Chuck said...

Is it really "mourning clothes"? Or is it "morning attire"? I know there is the latter; I own a morning coat and the accoutrements, having lived for a time in England.

I do not wish to doubt the existence of "mourning clothes," but I honestly don't know what that might be.

One thing -- and it is a tradition I love and almost never see observed in the U.S. -- is that at state funerals in the UK, all of the attendees wear black and almost nothing but black, with the exception of men's white shirts. (Never blue, pink or striped shirts.)

And because I know someone will challenge and/or correct me, let's recognize that "morning coats" are what is worn to races at Ascot, and to weddings, etc., and are often dressed up with bright colors and patterned vests, etc. NOT appropriate for "mourning," which might lend credence to there actually being "mourning attire" that is different from "morning attire."

Chuck said...

Unknown said...
She's a canny old bird and will be missed when she passes (hopefully many years from now). Who can forget how she handled the first Scotland crisis? She was forbidden from saying anything political, but who could object to "People should think very carefully" followed by Sunday services at a Scottish church? After all, she's Queen and can go to church anywhere she likes.


But she loves her estate at Balmoral. In the aforesaid Scotland.

John said...

Baghots The English Constitution is mentioned several times in The Crown.

So I am currently reading it. A bit datef like 150 years but very interesting on the functions of the crown.

Also on parliamentary vs presidential govt.

John Henry

Marc Puckett said...

I will sincerely mourn Elizabeth's death, in spite of my opinions about the Anglican Church and the Hanoverian imposition &c. What I found most interesting about the article was the writer's attempt to meld the seriousness befitting the solemn nature of the foreseen event with the nonsense post-modern quasi-ironical 'snark' mode that is the default position of so many in these latter days.

Paco Wové said...

"I do not wish to doubt the existence of "mourning clothes," but I honestly don't know what that might be."

The custom of wearing unadorned black clothing for mourning dates back at least to the Roman Empire, when the toga pulla, made of dark-colored wool, was worn during mourning.

John said...

Rhhatdin

You do know that London Bridge is in Arizona, don't you?

Why should arizonans suffer for an English queen?

John Henry

Marc Puckett said...

Chuck, While I'm not up on the specifics of court uniform and court dress I'd bet a pound or two that there remain in use modifications of the livery during periods of mourning-- the writer's not talking about 'morning coats &c'. I briefly looked about but found no photographs (e.g. after the death of the late Queen Elizabeth) to confirm this, however.

tcrosse said...

November 22, 1963, we were listening to the network radio coverage. JFK had been shot in Dallas. When it was announced that he had died, I'm sure they intended to play the Funeral March from Beethoven's Eroica Symphony. Instead, they put on the first movement of the Pastoral. Somebody put on the wrong side of the LP. Poignant.

roadgeek said...

Great article. The snark was very subtle.

Chuck said...

Marc Puckett said...
Chuck, While I'm not up on the specifics of court uniform and court dress I'd bet a pound or two that there remain in use modifications of the livery during periods of mourning-- the writer's not talking about 'morning coats &c'. I briefly looked about but found no photographs (e.g. after the death of the late Queen Elizabeth) to confirm this, however.


I don't think we are in disagreement; in fact, I think we are seeing much the same thing.

I picture a member of the staff, wearing a black or charcoal morning coat, white shirt and black tie, and perhaps a black armband. Not much different from "morning attire," but in black.

"Mourning attire" at the funeral of Prnicess Diana:

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/d3/d8/89/d3d889a33c950c55d630f9ddfdd6832d.jpg

Just black or charcoal suits, white shirts, black neckties.

MadisonMan said...

The Queen predates my birth. As Princess, she waved to my Dad once while passing him on a London Street. I will sincerely mourn her death, but all people do die eventually.

It's astonishing that she has ruled as long as she has. And done an exemplary job of it IMO.

Gahrie said...

She's trying hard to outlive Charles and Camilla.

She only has to outlive Charles...Camilla doesn't matter.

Hopefully, if she doesn't, Parliament will skip Charles for William anyway.

Caroline Walker said...

Genetic markers here are incredibly reliable. I'm finding in my own family, the men who've departed have done so within a year or two of age 89. Women, 95. Queen Elizabeth's mom lived to 102. That's our best indicator. Long live the Queen.

Birches said...

I found the article fascinating, but I suspect they'll get a practice funeral for the Duke of Edinburgh before they have to go full London Bridge.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Her mother lived to 101.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Elizabeth_The_Queen_Mother

Sammy Finkelman said...

The person who lived to be 102 was Princess Alice, the Duchess of Gloucester, the wife of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, the third son of George V and Mary of Teck (and brother of Edward VIII and George VI)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Alice,_Duchess_of_Gloucester

donald said...

Queen Elizabeth has been ill a lot lately.

True story: She and Prince Phillip did a visit to my ship (Uss Ranger CV-61, I got pictures!). I was in close proximity for the entire thing. She (And Phillip) was incredibly nice and gracious. My mom (Newfie, who named both daughters after her) was blown away.

Unlike the thug murderers row (This was 1983) Central America that were whisked on to the ship for frickin air shows for a couple of weeks. Which was several months earlier.