Will there be a bank holiday for the Queen's funeral?

Find out whether to expect a bank holiday for the Queen's funeral

A head and shoulders shot of Queen Elizabeth II wearing a pink coat and hat
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II (opens in new tab), questions have been raised as to whether there will be a bank holiday for the Queen's funeral.

On Thursday 8 September 2022, a statement from Buckingham Palace shared that the Queen had died peacefully at Balmoral that same afternoon. Because she died in Scotland, a plan known as Operation Unicorn - named after the national animal of Scotland - has begun to be implemented. 

While people all over the country and the world mourn the loss of Queen Elizabeth II, the highly organised operation has led to questions around the current period of national mourning, including whether trains will be running (opens in new tab) and where the Queen will be buried (opens in new tab). And with the possibility of a bank holiday for the Queen's funeral, many are also wondering what the event will mean for shops, businesses and workplaces. We've put together this guide of everything that could be affected by a bank holiday for the Queen's funeral.

Will there be a bank holiday for the Queen's funeral?

King Charles announced that the day of the Queen's funeral will be a bank holiday across the UK, which he approved in his first meeting with the Privy Council at St James’ Palace.

Acting Lord President of the Council Penny Mordaunt read out two draft proclamations appointing the day as a bank holiday in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, and the King responded with the word 'approved' before signing the proclamations.

The approval was one of the first acts by King Charles, and has been made to allow as many people as possible to be able to watch the funeral.

When is the bank holiday for the Queen's funeral?

The date of the Queen's state funeral (opens in new tab) has been set for Monday September 19, 2022 - which will be officially recognised as a Bank Holiday Monday.

The event takes place at the end of an official 10-day period of mourning and a period in which the Queen will lie in state - where the closed coffin will be placed on view so people can pay their respects to the late Queen. 

The lying in state (opens in new tab) in Westminster Hall in London opens at 5pm on Wednesday 14 September and will be open 23 hours a day until it closes at 6.30am on Monday 19 September – the day of the Queen’s funeral. The funeral will commence at 11am at Westminster Abbey in London.

There are currently no plans to make the bank holiday for the Queen's funeral an annual event.

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Will workers have the day off?

There is no legal requirement for employers to give staff the day off on the bank holiday, this decision has been left up to individual employers.

However, a government statement (opens in new tab) says "The bank holiday will be a unique national moment, and we would encourage employers to respond sensitively to requests from workers who wish to take time off." 

The statement adds that while there is no statutory entitlement to a day off, employers may include bank holidays as part of a worker’s leave entitlement, and that discussions around additional pay to work on the bank holiday, time off in lieu and reclaiming annual leave are all matters to be decided by individual employers.

Will shops be closed?

It is expected that many shops will be closed on the day of the state funeral - as is often the case with other bank holidays - though shops are not obliged to close.

The decision has been left to individual business owners, meaning some may choose to operate reduced opening hours instead of closing for the whole day.

The government advice is "Some businesses may wish to consider closing or postponing events, especially on the day of the State Funeral, however, this is at the discretion of individual businesses."

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John Lewis is one of the first large retailers to announce it will be closing its stores for the funeral. Sir Stuart Hampson, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: "Our decision is very much in response to the wishes and feelings of our partners and we sense that our customers will consider it a fitting arrangement too.

"It is also appropriate as two of our department stores as well as Waitrose, our supermarket chain, hold Royal Warrants from the late Queen Mother. She was a very special customer."

John Lewis stores will not open until 1pm on the day of the Queen's funeral, after the service has finished.

Will schools be closed?

The Department for Education (opens in new tab) has announced that schools should close on Monday 19 September for the Queen's funeral.

In an email sent to schools and colleges, the Department for Education said: "The official date of the State Funeral is 19 September 2022.

"This day will be a bank holiday and settings that are normally closed on a bank holiday should close on this day as a mark of respect. This will include schools and colleges."

However, it is possible that some schools will remain open in a limited capacity to look after children, if their parents have been unable to get time off work.

Normal attendance is expected throughout the rest of the mourning period.

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Will banks be closed?

Banks and the London Stock Exchange will close for England and Wales on Monday 19 September due to the bank holiday.

This means no trading will be able to be carried out on the stock market on the day of the Queen's funeral. Trading will continue at the usual times during the rest of the national mourning.

On the day of the Queen's death, the London Stock Exchange Group (opens in new tab) said: "We are deeply saddened at the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

"Our sympathies and condolences are with the royal family."

What else will be affected by the bank holiday for the Queen's funeral?

Sporting fixtures and Royal Mail services will also be affected by the bank holiday on Monday 19 September.

Government guidance has said "As a mark of respect, organisations might wish to consider cancelling or postponing events or closing venues on the day of the State Funeral...If sporting fixtures or events are planned for the day of the State Funeral, organisations may want to adjust the event timings so they do not clash with the timings of the funeral service and associated processions."

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Meanwhile, Royal Mail has confirmed that services will be suspended on the day of the state funeral. Chief executive Simon Thompson said in a statement: "We are proud that over the coming days Royal Mail will play an important role in delivering messages of condolence from all around the world to the Royal Family.

"We want to make our customers aware that services will be suspended on the day of the funeral as people come together to honour Her Majesty, after 70 years of exemplary service to the nation and the Commonwealth."

Will there be a bank holiday for the coronation?

No date has been set for the coronation ceremony, and it has not yet been confirmed that King Charles' coronation (opens in new tab) will be a bank holiday in the UK.

Queen Elizabeth II's coronation (opens in new tab) took place more than a year after she ascended the throne, and King Charles' coronation won't be for at least several months.

At the ceremony, Camilla will also be crowned as Queen Consort (opens in new tab).

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