Express & Star

The Queen's death: Will schools close, is football cancelled this weekend and is there going to be a bank holiday?

The nation is in mourning and Queen's Elizabeth's death has left a lot of people feeling uncertain, not least because she was central to UK life for so long.

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Queen Elizabeth II at Jaguar Land Rover in the West Midlands.

The Queen was a stalwart of our society, an unchanging figure in a decades-deep sea of change, and many of our audience want to know what happens next.

Parents, for example, want to know if schools will close, while others are keen to understand if we'll have a bank holiday or not?

There will be a timetable of events and the Government is expected to update the nation today but below is what we know so far.

Will there be a Bank Holiday?

The new King and Queen are returning to London today after staying overnight in Balmoral.

Charles and Camilla will have an audience with Prime Minister Liz Truss, before meeting the Duke of Norfolk who is in charge of the accession and the Queen's funeral.

The funeral is likely to take place at Westminster Abbey on Monday, September 19, although this has not yet been confirmed.

However, it has been confirmed that the day of the Queen's funeral will be a bank holiday.

Charles approved the proclamation for the day to be a bank holiday in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Will sporting events be cancelled?

Sporting events scheduled for today (September 9) have indeed been cancelled as a mark of respect following the Queen's death.

Premier League and EFL fixtures across the upcoming weekend have also been postponed.

The second day of the England V South Africa cricket Test isn't taking place, and it's not known when it will continue.

Stage six of the Tour of Britain will not take place today either, and we're waiting for an announcement from Rugby's Premiership which is due to start today.

Are schools closed?

As it stands, schools are open. It's understood that they'll only be closed if a public holiday is declared but we can expect more guidance from the Government and later.

It has been reported, as mentioned above, that schools will close on the day of the Queen's funeral.

The Department of Education said yesterday: "On 8 September 2022 Buckingham Palace announced the death of Her Majesty The Queen.

"The Government will issue further guidance and information shortly."

Are rail and postal strikes still going ahead?

Three unions said strikes will not go ahead following the Queen’s death on Thursday afternoon.

Planned strikes by rail and postal workers have been called off as a result of the Queen’s death.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union were due to walk out on September 15 and 17 in a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

Its general secretary Mick Lynch said: “RMT joins the whole nation in paying its respects to Queen Elizabeth.

“The planned railway strike action on September 15 and 17 is suspended.

“We express our deepest condolences to her family, friends and the country.”

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) also called off planned strikes.

A statement said: “Upon the news that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has died, TSSA union expresses deepest condolences to her family, friends, the country and those affected by her passing.

“TSSA is cancelling planned industrial action for September and will be respecting the period of public mourning.

“The union pays respect to Britain’s longest-serving monarch.”

Members of the Communication Workers Union were due to continue a 48-hour walkout on Friday in a dispute over pay and conditions.

General secretary Dave Ward said: “Following the very sad news of the passing of the Queen and out of respect for her service to the country and her family, the union has decided to call off tomorrow’s planned strike action.”

Will King Charles III address the nation today?

The King will make a televised address to the nation, which he is due to pre-record, in the early evening.

He will pay tribute to the Queen and pledge his duty to his service as the new sovereign.

Can I still spend cash with the Queen's image on?

Current bank notes featuring a portrait of the Queen will continue to be legal tender, the Bank of England has reassured consumers.

A further announcement regarding notes will be made once the period of mourning has been observed following the Queen’s death.

The Queen was the first monarch to feature on Bank of England banknotes.

What are the rules on flags?

Government departments have issued the following advice regarding flying flags following the Queen's death: "Following the death of Her Majesty The Queen, all official flags, including the Union Flag, should be half-masted from as soon as possible today until 08.00 the day following The Queen’s State Funeral. Flags may be flown overnight during this period but should remain at half-mast.

"Official flags in this instance are defined as national flags of the home nations, Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories, Ensigns and Ships’ colours.

"Any non-official flags flying or due to be flown, such as the Rainbow Flag or the Armed Forces Day Flag, should be taken down and replaced with a Union Flag at half-mast. Other official flags scheduled to be flown can be flown as normal, but at half-mast," the advice continued.

"Half-mast means the flag is flown a 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.

"On poles that are more than 45° from the vertical, flags cannot be flown at half-mast and should not be flown at all.

"The Union Flag must be flown the correct way up - in the half of the flag nearest the flagpole, the wider diagonal white stripe must be above the red diagonal stripe," it concluded.