The publication of the Queen‘s death certificate today paints a new picture of the extraordinary 24 hours that changed the monarchy – and Britain’s ancient history – forever.
The document released by National Records of Scotland this afternoon disclosed that Her Majesty died from ‘old age’ on Thursday September 8 at 3.10pm at the Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire – more than three hours before the world was told of her passing.
Crucially, the certificate confirmed what was suspected on the day – that some of the monarch’s children and grandchildren, including the Prince of Wales, Duke of York, Earl and Countess of Wessex and Duke of Sussex, tried in vain to be at the 96-year-old’s bedside.
It is not known when the King and his Queen Consort arrived at Balmoral, but unlike other members of the royal family they were already in Scotland, at Dumfries House in Ayrshire. The Princess Royal, the Queen’s daughter Princess Anne, is named as the ‘informant’ on the document and would have notified the local registrar of her mother’s death.
The document raises fresh questions about when Prince Harry was told about his grandmother’s death, having travelled separately from his brother William and uncles Andrew and Edward – who also did not manage to reach Balmoral before Her Majesty’s passing – and landing in Aberdeen some 15 minutes after Buckingham Palace announced the death.
Palace aides reacted angrily to claims that Harry had been given just five minutes notice of his grandmother’s passing before it was made public, with a spokesman for the King stressing that the public was ‘only informed after every family member had been informed’.
The Mail understands that while it is true that Harry was told shortly before the news became public, the reason for this was because he was on a flight to Scotland and therefore not contactable.
The death certificate lists the Queen’s full name – Elizabeth Alexander Mary Windsor – occupation, ‘Her Majesty the Queen’, date of birth April 21, 1926, and her marital status as widowed. The Queen’s usual residence is given as Windsor Castle, and her parents King George VI and the Queen Mother are named, with the document signed by Paul Lowe, the Registrar General for Scotland.
Dr Douglas Glass, who had the title Apothecary to the Queen and in 2019 acted as Charles’ physician when he made an official visit to Germany, certified the late monarch’s cause of death.
The last photo of the Queen before her death, taken on September 6, 2022 in the Drawing Room at Balmoral where she invited Liz Truss to become Prime Minister and form a new Government
The Queen’s death certificate says the monarch died of ‘old age’. The document, that was signed by Princess Anne as the ‘informant’, says that she passed away at 3.10pm on Thursday, September 8
10.30am: Charles boards a helicopter from Dumfries House after receiving a warning from doctors about the Queen’s health
Shortly after 10.30am, the Queen’s eldest son Charles boards a helicopter from Dumfries House in Ayrshire to the Balmoral estate, after the senior royal received a warning from doctors about Her Majesty’s health.
At about 6.02pm the night before, Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen had postponed her virtual Privy Council meeting after being advised by royal doctors to rest.
The proceedings would have seen Prime Minister Liz Truss take her oath as First Lord of the Treasury and new Cabinet ministers would have been sworn into their roles, and also made privy counsellors if not already appointed as one in past.
10.30am: Prince Charles boards a helicopter from Dumfries House to Balmoral
Though the advice did not involve a hospital stay, the announcement instantly raised fresh fears for Her Majesty’s health, who had been having mobility issues for several months and had previously cancelled a number of appearances at high-profile public events including the Platinum Jubilee celebrating her 70 years on the throne.
It had been reported that the future King Charles III had been making regular morning visits to see his mother, with the unplanned visits considered highly unusual. She missed the Braemar Gathering highland games, which she usually attended each year.
A Palace spokesman said: ‘After a full day yesterday, Her Majesty has this afternoon accepted doctors’ advice to rest. This means that the Privy Council meeting that had been due to take place this evening will be rearranged.’
12.15pm: Prime Minister Liz Truss receives news that the Queen is gravely ill and will pass away ‘within hours, not days’
Britain’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss was giving a statement in the Commons about her proposed £150billion energy bailout to tackle soaring housing costs fuelled by Putin’s war in Ukraine when Cabinet Minister Nadhim Zahawi passed her a note confirming what she already knew – that the Queen was unlikely to survive the day.
The newly anointed Conservative leader had known that the monarch was gravely ill and would pass away in a ‘matter of hours, not days’ for more than two hours before rising to her feet to address MPs at 11.40am.
As aides located black clothing and cancelled an evening phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron, the PM – who was barely into her second day in Downing Street – was driven the short distance to Parliament, where she gave no hint of the unfolding drama as she announced that the Government would cap household annual energy bills at £2,500 until 2024.
12pm: Prime Minister Liz Truss giving a statement to the Commons on her £150billion energy bailout
The Prime Minister turned to look at Mr Zahawi with a look of consternation, while across the aisle Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer appeared to be informed of developments by his deputy Angela Rayner.
Rumours then quickly spread through the chamber and Parliament, forcing Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle to interrupt the speech of SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford during the energy debate to tell MPs: ‘I know I speak on behalf of the entire House when I say that we send our best wishes to Her Majesty the Queen and that she and the royal family are in our thoughts and prayers at this moment.’
He added: ‘If there is anything else, we will update the House accordingly.’
12.35pm: Buckingham Palace announces that the Queen is under medical supervision
The Palace then issued a statement at 12.35pm on Thursday announcing that the Queen was under medical supervision at Balmoral after doctors became concerned for her health.
A Palace spokesperson said: ‘Following further evaluation this morning, the Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision. The Queen remains comfortable and at Balmoral.’
People gather at Buckingham Palace. At 12.35pm on September 8, they announced the Queen was under medical supervision
12.39pm: BBC One interrupts its regular programming and Huw Edwards presents live coverage of news of the Queen’s health, dressed in black
BBC One suspended its regular programming schedule following the announcement, and instead aired a BBC News Special presented by Huw Edwards – who was dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and black tie, in line with the BBC’s dress code for when a member of the Royal Family dies as a mark of respect.
The channel One interrupted Bargain Hunt at 12.39pm to deliver the statement from the Palace which said royal doctors were concerned for health.
12.47pm: Royal households announce Charles and William are travelling to Balmoral
Clarence House announced that Charles and Camilla were travelling to Balmoral – while a minute later Kensington Palace said that Prince William was flying to the Aberdeenshire estate.
The then Duke and Duchess of Cornwall had been staying in Scotland close to Her Majesty.
1.38pm: Royal sources confirm Princess Anne is at Balmoral
At 1.38pm, royal sources confirmed to the Press Association that The Princess Royal was already at Balmoral with Charles.
1.55pm: Spokesperson for Harry and Meghan announce couple are ‘travelling to Scotland’
At 1.55pm, a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed that the couple would be ‘travelling to Scotland’ – without directly making mention of Balmoral. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were due to attend the WellChild Awards ceremony in London on Thursday evening, but changed their plans to travel to see the Queen.
2.39pm: Prince William flies from RAF Northolt to Aberdeen airport with Prince Andrew and the Earl and Countess of Wessex
The RAF flight at Northolt carrying William, Andrew, Edward and Sophie to Aberdeen at around 2.30pm
Meanwhile the Queen’s grandson William left Windsor and flew from RAF Northolt with Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex. William’s wife Kate remained at Windsor to stay with their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – who started a new school that week.
The RAF jet had been scheduled to leave at 1.30pm. The reason for the last-minute hold-up is not yet known.
3.10pm: The Queen dies of ‘old age’
The Queen died at 3.10pm of ‘old age’, according to her death certificate released by National Records of Scotland.
The time of death on the document, which gives the monarch’s occupation as ‘Her Majesty The Queen’, reveals that King Charles and his only sister were by their mother’s side when she passed away. The informant of Her Majesty’s death was the Princess Royal.
3.50pm: RAF flight carrying William, Andrew, Edward and Sophie lands at Aberdeen
The RAF flight carrying William, Andrew, Edward and Sophie landed at Aberdeen airport at around 3.50pm – 40 minutes after the Queen’s death. It is not clear when exactly they were told of the passing.
The BBC initially reported that it was carrying up to seven royals and that it may also be carrying the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. However, the Press Association confirmed that the RAF plane that landed in Aberdeen was carrying the Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of York and the Earl and Countess of Wessex – and neither Harry nor Meghan.
The RAF flight carrying William, Andrew, Edward and Sophie lands at Aberdeen airport at around 3.50pm
4.14pm: PA news alert says Harry and Meghan are travelling to Balmoral ‘separately’ from other royals
A news alert by the Press Association said that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were travelling to Balmoral ‘separately’ from other royals.
4.30pm: Cabinet Secretary Simon Case tells Liz Truss that the Queen has died
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman says Ms Truss was informed of the Queen’s death at 4.30pm by Cabinet Secretary Simon Case – who then begins to prepare a statement before a public declaration of the death two hours later, at 6.30pm.
The Prime Minister’s aides praised the ‘superb’ performance of Mr Case, who holds the rare advantage of high-level experience in both the political and royal worlds: before taking up his role as Boris Johnson’s most senior civil servant, he worked as Prince William’s Private Secretary.
Along with Nick Catasaras, Ms Truss’s Principal Private Secretary, and Sir Edward Young, the Private Secretary to the Queen, Mr Case is part of the so-called ‘golden triangle’ of officials who manage the interface between Whitehall and Buckingham Palace.
4.39pm: Sources confirm that Meghan is not travelling to Balmoral with Harry
At 4.39pm, the Press Association issued another news alert, quoting an unnamed source, saying that Meghan would not travel to Balmoral with Harry. The source said that Harry would be making the trip by himself, and that Meghan could potentially join him in Scotland at a later date, following what PA described as a ‘change of plan’.
Then at 4.44pm, Omid Scobie, a journalist ‘friendly’ towards the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and who often quotes unnamed sources close to the couple, tweeted that Meghan had not flown up to Scotland.
The post said: ‘A source has shared an update stating that only Prince Harry has made the trip up to Balmoral. Like the Duchess of Cambridge (who is in Windsor with their three children), the Duchess of Sussex is staying back in England (but still not attending tonight’s WellChild Awards).’
The Telegraph claims that this was due to logistics, and that spouses, including the Duchess of Cambridge, were not going to Balmoral.
A source familiar with how the day unfolded told the paper: ‘It was just a mistake. This wasn’t about causing or taking offence, it was simply the protocol and they [the Sussexes] were always going to respect that.’
5pm: William, Andrew, Edward and Sophie arrive at Balmoral
5pm: William, Andrew, Sophie and Edward arrive at Balmoral Castle
A fleet of cars carrying the Duke of Cambridge, Duke of York and the Earl and Countess of Wessex arrives at Balmoral just after 5pm – nearly two hours after the Queen’s death.
William drove his two uncles in a Range Rover as part of the cavalcade of cars, with the Duke of York in the passenger seat, while the Earl and Countess of Wessex were sitting in the back.
5.35pm: Harry’s private flight from London Luton takes off
Prince Harry took a private jet from London’s Luton airport at at around 5.35pm.
The duke is said to have missed the RAF flight from Northolt because he was ‘so busy trying to get Meghan to Balmoral and rowing with his family’.
It is not clear when the duke was told of the Queen’s death. However, 10 days ago Buckingham Palace aides reacted angrily to claims that Harry had been given just five minutes notice of his grandmother’s passing before it was made public.
It came after a newspaper report claimed that the devastated royal had been the last to know about her passing – and was even told by his father after the Prime Minister.
The Telegraph suggested this was a further example of the rift between the prince and his family following his decision to quit royal duties and throw a string of accusations about the way he and Meghan were supposedly treated.
But there was clear irritation at Buckingham Palace that such claims had emerged on the eve of the Queen’s funeral, which was considered hugely disrespectful in the circumstances.
In a rare statement on such a private matter, a spokesman for the King stressed: ‘The public was only informed after every family member had been informed.’
The Mail understands that while it is true that Harry was told shortly before the news became public, the reason for this was because he was on a flight to Scotland and therefore not contactable. The original story was later taken down from The Telegraph’s website.
6.30pm: Buckingham Palace announces the Queen’s death
Buckingham Palace announces the Queen’s death.
In a statement, courtiers said: ‘The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.’
The flag at Buckingham Palace was subsequently lowered to half mast, as people among the crowd gathered outside the gates began crying and taking pictures as a single helicopter circled the skies above – while armed police gathered in the palace grounds.
Her Majesty the Queen – Britain’s longest-reigning monarch – dies peacefully at Balmoral aged 96
6.36pm: Flags in Downing Street are lowered to half mast
The flags in Downing Street were lowered to half mast at 6.36pm following Buckingham Palace’s announcement.
And staff carried a podium onto Downing Street as Ms Truss prepared to pay tribute to the nation’s longest-reigning monarch outside No10.
A wide shot of Downing Street, where the Union Flag was flown at half mast after the announcement of the Queen’s death
The Union Flag above Downing Street was flown at half mast
6.38pm: BBC’s Huw Edwards delivers the news of the Queen’s death
Broadcaster Huw Edwards delivered the news of the Queen’s death live on BBC One.
After an image of the flag at Buckingham Palace was shown at half mast, he told viewers: ‘A few moments ago Buckingham Palace announced the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.’
Edwards then read out the statement from Buckingham Palace which announced the news, before BBC One played the national anthem, showing a photograph of the Queen, followed by a royal crest on a black background and the words Queen Elizabeth II.
Reflecting on the example of leadership the Queen set as he announced her death, he said: ‘A lifetime of service to people in the United Kingdom, throughout the Commonwealth and in many parts of the world. An example of leadership which didn’t stray into the realm of politics and for lots of people the ideal symbol of what a constitutional monarchy should be like. Well, now the world has been told and the official notice has been posted.’
Huw Edwards announced the news solemnly, looking into the camera to repeat Buckingham Palace’s statement twice
6.46pm: Harry lands at Aberdeen 15 minutes after Buckingham Palace statement
Prince Harry landed at Aberdeen Airport on a private jet. The Duke of Sussex’s flight had been due to land at 6.29pm, a minute before the statement. But it was 20 minutes late taking off from London’s Luton Airport.
7.06pm: Charles pays tribute to ‘cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother’
Charles, who became King on the death of his mother, said: ‘We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother.
‘I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.’
King Charles III released this poignant statement reacting to the death of his ‘beloved mother’ as he took the throne today
7.07pm: Liz Truss praises ‘extraordinary’ Queen and concludes address by saying ‘God save the King’
Prime Minister Liz Truss stepped out of No10 and to the podium on Downing Street at 7.07pm, dressed in black, to address the nation following the Queen’s death.
Paying tribute to Her Majesty’s ‘extraordinary’ life in public service, the Tory leader said the Queen was ‘loved and admired by the people in the United Kingdom and all around the world’ and called her ‘a personal inspiration to me and to many Britons’.
Referring to Charles, the new King, as King Charles III, Ms Truss said: ‘Today the Crown passes, as it has done for more than a thousand years, to our new monarch, our new head of state, His Majesty King Charles III.’
She added that it was ‘the passing of the second Elizabethan age’ and concluded her address by saying ‘God save the King’.
The Prime Minister said the devastating’ event marked the end of the second Elizabethan age
7.24pm: William and Kate’s Twitter account @KensingtonRoyal refers to couple as Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge
From 7.24pm, William and Kate’s Twitter account @KensingtonRoyal referred to the couple as The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge.
7.45pm: Harry and Meghan’s Archewell website homepage is blacked-out
At 7.45pm, Harry and Meghan’s Archewell website homepage became a blacked-out landing page with the words: ‘In loving memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 1926-2022.’
7.52pm: Harry arrives at Balmoral four hours after the Queen’s death
The Duke of Sussex arrived at Balmoral at 7.52pm, four hours after the Queen’s death and nearly 90 minutes after Buckingham Palace announced the passing.
By the time he landed at Aberdeen at 6.46pm, it was 16 minutes after the palace had made the announcement.
Harry then faced a lonely drive to the castle, finally arriving at 7.52pm where he joined other members of the Royal Family in mourning the Queen’s death.
7.52pm: The Duke of Sussex joined other members of the Royal Family in mourning the Queen’s death
He looked ashen-faced on the back seat of the Range Rover as it swept into the Balmoral estate. As well as losing a beloved grandmother, he may have been reflecting on his future without her as monarch. She remained fond of him, in spite of recent challenges, and he was said to have retained an ability to make her laugh.
Harry stayed for just 12 hours before returning to Windsor to be with his wife, having apparently ‘refused’ to have dinner with his father and brother after Meghan was banned from joining the family at Balmoral on the day the Queen died, it was claimed last week.
The Sun reported that Harry was invited to dine at Birkhall, his father’s home on the Balmoral estate, with the King, William and Camilla, Queen Consort. But he was said to have instead remained at Balmoral Castle with the Earl and Countess of Wessex and the Duke of York.
A source told the newspaper: ‘Harry was so busy trying to get Meghan to Balmoral and rowing with his family that he missed the flight.
‘Charles has an open invitation for Harry to dine with him whenever he is in the country. But Harry was so furious that he refused to eat with his father and brother…
‘And he got out of Balmoral at the earliest opportunity to catch the first commercial flight back to London.’
Harry left Balmoral at around 8am the next morning to catch a plane for Heathrow Airport before being reunited with his wife at their UK residence Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.
Revealed: Doctor who signed Queen’s death certificate had served her for 34 years after being personally appointed as Apothecary to Her Majesty’s Household at Balmoral during Buckingham Palace ceremony in 1988
The Queen‘s death certificate was signed by a Scottish doctor who has worked for the monarchy for more than 30 years, it can be revealed.
Dr Douglas James Allan Glass – who once saved the late Queen Mother‘s life when she choked on a fish bone – began his role as Apothecary to Her Majesty’s Household at Balmoral on March 30 1988.
His title became official during a special presentation at Buckingham Palace just a few days later on April 5 the same year.
The incident with the Queen Mother occurred when a fish bone lodged in her throat while staying at Balmoral in May 1993.
She eventually had to have surgery under general anaesthetic to remove it at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, where she spent several days.
Dr Douglas James Allan Glass began his role as Apothecary to Her Majesty’s Household at Balmoral on March 30 1998 (Pictured: Dr Douglas Glass and his now ex-wife Suzanne at their romantic hillside wedding overlooking Royal Deeside near Ballater in April 1996)
What does it mean to die of ‘old age’? Is it a common cause of death?
It’s common to hear that someone has died of ‘old age’ – but official advice states that doctors should avoid only using ‘old age’ on death certificates.
The description is only accepted if the patient is over 80 and if the doctor has personally cared for the patient for a long period, observing a gradual decline.
It also can only be used if doctors are unaware of any identifiable disease or injury that contributed to the death.
The phrase refers to the ‘lifetime sum total of injury’ to the body’s tissues and organs, doctors say.
However, other experts argue that you can’t truly die of old age. Instead, they claim age simply makes someone more susceptible to heart or kidney disease, two illnesses that can kill.
Dr Glass’s role is similar to that of Dr Timothy Evans, who looked after the late monarch’s health at the royal household in Windsor.
Dr Glass also works as a GP in the Highlands village of Aboyne, around 20 miles from Balmoral Castle, where the Queen died aged 96 on Thursday September 8.
He was listed as working at the Braemar Health Clinic until at least July 2020, although it is not clear if he still works there.
He signed the death certificate of Her Majesty on Monday (September 26), confirming that she had died of old age.
However at the time of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, her top royal doctor was Professor Sir Huw Thomas, who is Head of the Medical Household and Physician to the Queen and has also delivered some of the younger royals.
Prince Philip, who died at Windsor Castle, had ‘old age listed as his cause of death by Sir Thomas but the Queen died in Scotland.
He previously made the news in 2006 when he separated from his wife after discovering she was pregnant by her guitar tutor, who she had been seeing behind his back.
The Queen’s death certificate, released today by National Records of Scotland, revealed the late monarch had died at 3.10pm – more than three hours before the public was informed.
The informant of her death was the Princess Royal, Queen Elizabeth II’s daughter Princess Anne.
The historic document, which gives the monarch’s occupation as ‘Her Majesty The Queen, reveals that only King Charles and his only sister were by their mother’s side when she died in Aberdeenshire.
Prince William, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie Countess of Wessex, were in the air when the Queen passed away.
Dr Douglas James Allan Glass began his roles as Apothecary to Her Majesty’s Household at Balmoral (pictured) on March 30 1998
They had been racing to Balmoral took off from RAF Northolt in South Ruislip, west London, at 2.39pm, landing an hour later.
Prince Harry was not on the plane with his brother and had to make his own journey to Scotland on a jet from Luton, after his grandmother had died. He landed in Aberdeen at 6.46pm, 16 minutes after the Palace made its announcement.
Old age was the only cause of death listed, with no other contributing factors. It was the same cause of death as on her husband Prince Philip’s death certificate.
Paul Lowe, the Registrar General for Scotland, confirmed that the Queen’s death was registered in Aberdeenshire on September 16 2022.