A Nation in Mourning

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It seemed unnecessary, almost inappropriate, yesterday to join the multitude in express my/our/your deep sadness and profound shock at the news of the passing of Here Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, after 70 years of selfless service and truly glorious devotion to the Nation. Her loss will be felt deeply by the vast majority of here citizens in the UK and across much of the world. That loss will be physically expressed and demonstrated, in particular within the UK and, especially over the coming two to three weeks, with a sharp focus on a State Funeral in London, likely to be held on 19 September 2022.

However, unnecessary, almost inappropriate it felt expressing my sadness yesterday, it now feels utterly inappropriate but totally necessary now to try to give some practical direction on the known and possible consequences of what is an unprecedented event in our working lives.

The full detail of what National Mourning means in practical terms is still to be publicly announced but it is already clear that quite properly, normal business will effectively grind to a halt on the day of the State Funeral. There will also be major disruption, especially in London and by inference the South East on the days preceding it and potential for some days after. There is also likely to be disruption in Edinburg during, an expected, brief lying in State there.

Beyond the mandated impacts there will be a host of circumstantial impacts, second order consequences and voluntary decisions being made. Many major events from sports fixture to planned national strikes have already been postponed and it is highly likely that in addition to nationally stipulated changes yet to be announced, like school closures, there will be a vast array of major and minor changes, cancellations, postponements, from major concerts through major and minor meeting, individual days out, to pensioners tea parties and much else besides.

Much of that adjustment will fall on tourism, leisure, hospitality and visitor economy in general, as the UK public at large decide what is, or is not appropriate for them to do and when, in the circumstances of such a momentous event in the history of the Nation. There will also be a rash of Civic, religious and organisational and public events, officially and, in some instances, spontaneously arrange across the Nation, throughout the coming weeks.

Today’s announcements of official National arrangements will set the tone and, I would predict, act as the trigger for a wave of formal and informal decision making, much of it concentrated over the weekend and the first few “working days” of next week. Once planned events are adjusted moved or added, it will then be primarily a matter of how the public in general decide to respond and the proportion of the public and, indeed businesses themselves, that opt for business as usual or adopt a more sombre approach. While there may have been periods of State Mourning and State Funerals in living memory which could be indicative of the potential public response, this almost certainly an event of a very different and far more significant magnitude. Other than predicting it will be bigger and more impactful than anything we ourselves have seen before, we are almost certainly entering unchartered waters.

Although, there isn’t much that can be done today to manage what are likely to be unpredictable and fast-moving changes, being aware that almost anything could and can happen in the next fortnight or so may at least help you to prepare yourselves and others for a flurry of what is oddly, already predictable but as yet still largely unknown events. Forewarned is forearmed.

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