The government has issued official guidance for individuals and businesses on what to do during the official period of mourning for the Queen.

The 'national mourning guidance' document published by the Cabinet Office outlines a series of dos and don't which it suggests should be observed until the day after the late monarch's funeral.

These include instructions not to cover or remove portraits of the Queen or to send flowers to royal residences.

What is national mourning?

This is the official period of time for reflection in response to the death of the Queen or other member of the Royal Family or a very prominent person in national life.

There is no expectation on the public or organisations to observe specific behaviours during the mourning period although the government has issued guidelines to help.


Flags flying from Royal residences, government buildings and military establishments have been half-masted following the death of Her Majesty.

This is seen as a symbol of respect and mourning.

The only flag that shouldn't be flown at half-mast is the Royal Standard, which is the flag of the British monarch, which immediately passes on to the sovereign's successor.

Should businesses and public services close?

There is no obligation on organisations to suspend business during the national mourning period.

Depending on the nature and location of their business and the tone of planned events, 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.

Public services will continue as usual, although there may be some changes to service availability. Further guidance on any potential considerations relating to the day of the State Funeral will be issued

What about sports events?

The document states that there is no obligation for sporting events to be cancelled, or for entertainment venues to be closed during the national mourning period.

Again, the decision to postpone or cancel events, or close venues is down to the owner, but the guidance suggests that they should consider postponing or cancelling events on the day of the funeral.

If sporting fixtures are planned on the day of the funeral, guidance suggests that organisations could adjust the timings so that they do not clash with the funeral, and that they may hold a period of silence or play the national anthem before they begin 'as a mark of respect'.

Organisations can acknowledge the mourning period by adding black edging or banners to their website, the advice states.

Should you cover portraits or photographs of the Queen?

There is no need to remove or cover any official portrait or photograph of the Queen.

It is the custom to leave these in place.

For example, you will still see in many older public buildings official portraits on display of King George VI and other previous monarchs.

Floral tributes

Thousands of people have been laying floral tributes at Royal residences in the country.

But one thing you shouldn't do is send flowers to them.

The government and the Royal Household request that no official flowers, wreaths, or tributes be sent from organisations to the location of the State Funeral, Royal residences or government offices.

Locally, there may be places like town halls or places of worship where people will gather to lay floral tributes to the Queen.

Books of condolences

There are no official Royal, physical books of condolence, with the public asked to pay their respects via the Royal family website.

However, a person or organisation may open their own book of condolence.

Guidance states that the layout of the table is 'usually a trestle table on which the book is placed with a white tablecloth, an arrangement of flowers (usually lilies or other white flowers) and a framed formal photograph of Her Majesty.'

'This could be an official portrait photograph, or one taken at a previous Royal visit. As a mark of respect, a black ribbon could be wrapped around the top right hand corner,' it adds.