Queen Elizabeth's death: 5 countries, territories that have declared public holidays

The late monarch's funeral will be held in London on September 19 and is expected to be attended by leaders from around the world

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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Published: Wed 14 Sep 2022, 8:57 AM

Last updated: Wed 14 Sep 2022, 9:34 AM

Queen Elizabeth, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and the nation's figurehead for seven decades, died aged 96 last week.

Six days after her death in Scotland, Queen Elizabeth's body will be borne on a horse-drawn gun carriage from her Buckingham Palace home to Westminster Hall where she will remain for four days until her funeral next Monday, reports AFP.

Many countries across the world, mostly those that are a part of the Commonwealth, have declared days of mourning for the late monarch. Some countries have declared public holidays as well.

1. UK

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

The country has declared a period of mourning until September 19 - the day of the Queen's funeral. It will take place in Westminster Abbey in front of 2,000 VIP guests, with the day declared a public holiday in Britain.

Hundreds of heads of state and government, as well as global royalty, are expected, according to AFP.

Queen Elizabeth II will lie in state from Wednesday until a few hours before her funeral on Monday, with huge queues expected to file past her coffin to pay their respects.

Lying in state is an honour usually only accorded to sovereigns, current or past queen consorts, and sometimes former prime ministers.

Since 1910, when King Edward VII lay in state in parliament's Westminster Hall, all sovereigns have lain in state there.

The closed coffin, covered by the royal standard, rests on a raised platform or catafalque draped in purple in the centre of the 900-year-old hall.

On top will be the Imperial State Crown with the orb and sceptre representing spiritual and temporal power.

Soldiers will stand guard around the clock in rotation, at each corner of the platform. They stand with their heads bowed and backs to the coffin.

In an event known as the Vigil of the Princes, in 1936, King George V's four sons mounted the guard around his coffin.

In 2002, the queen mother's four grandsons did the same.

Members of the public will file past to pay their respects.

2. Australia

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Australia has announced a public holiday for September 22. According to local media, this is because the day coincides with the time that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will attend the Queen's funeral in London (accounting for the time difference).

King Charles III was officially named monarch in Australia and New Zealand on Sunday, in tandem ceremonies marking his ascension to the throne, reports AFP.

In Canberra, Governor-General David Hurley proclaimed "Prince Charles Philip Arthur George to be King Charles III, by grace of God, King of Australia".

The former British colony has been independent for decades but retains the monarch as its head of state.

3. New Zealand

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

New Zealand will have a one-off public holiday on September 26 to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday.

"This, I hope, will be a chance to acknowledge a lifetime of service to New Zealand by Queen Elizabeth II," Ardern told reporters in Wellington.

"We need to acknowledge here (that) this is a one-in-70-year event. The queen was our sovereign, our head of state."

"She made an enormous contribution to New Zealand through her public service," Ardern added. "This marks a significant end to a chapter."

AFP reports that a state memorial service will be held in the capital's Cathedral of St Paul on the same day.

Ardern confirmed she will leave New Zealand on September 14 to attend the queen's funeral in London, immediately after which she will fly to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

4. Canada

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has declared Monday, the day of Queen Elizabeth's funeral, a federal holiday to mourn the monarch's death, according to Reuters.

"On September 19, Canadians from across the country will pay their respects to Canada's longest-reigning sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II," Trudeau said in a statement on Tuesday. "For most Canadians, she was the only monarch we ever knew and many of us felt a deep affection and appreciation for her dedication to Canada."

Monday will be a holiday for all federal government employees. Other employers, including provincial and territorial governments, are not required to follow suit.

The premiers of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador issued statements declaring Monday a one-time holiday.

Ontario will observe a day of mourning on Monday but provincially regulated places like schools will remain open, Premier Doug Ford, a Conservative, said in a statement. The decision allows "students to be in school learning about the many contributions the Queen made to the people of Ontario, Canada, and the entire Commonwealth," Ford said.

Canada announced a 10-day mourning period after Elizabeth died at her holiday home in Scotland on Thursday. Trudeau, who has said the queen was among his favourite people, is scheduled to attend her funeral.

Canada remained in the British Empire until 1982. It is still a member of the Commonwealth of former empire countries which hold the British monarch as head of state.

Trudeau's declaration was opposed by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. "Given it would allow only 6 days notice & cost the economy billions, CFIB is urging provincial governments to NOT declare next Monday as a statutory (paid) holiday," CFIB Chief Executive Dan Kelly said on Twitter.

Canada's Labour minister, Seamus O'Regan, said private sector employers are welcome to give workers a day off but they are not required to do so.

5. British Overseas Territories

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

According to local media, Cayman Islands will observe September 19 as a public holiday.

A Bermuda newspaper reported that its Governor, Rena Lalgie, declared the day of the funeral as a public holiday. It also said that Lalgie and Premier David Burt would attend the funeral in London.

A statement on the Bermuda Government's official Twitter handle reads, "Her Excellency the Governor, Rena Lalgie, has made a Proclamation declaring Monday, 19 September to be a Public Holiday to coincide with the National Day of Mourning and the State Funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II."


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