Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – 1926-2022

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
1926 – 2022

The Flag Institute is deeply saddened by the news of the passing of HM Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral Castle on the 8th September, 2022.

Her Majesty’s over 70 years of service as our Queen has been inspirational and her steadfast hand at the helm of this country, and her other realms, will be much missed. Truly the age of HM Queen Elizabeth II has passed and the world is the poorer for it.

Our deepest sympathies are with HM King Charles III and the members of the Royal Family.


Below we give some basic information on when and how to fly flags at half-mast:

Half-mast means the flag is flown two-thirds of the way up the flagpole, with at least the height of the flag between the top of the flag and the top of the flagpole. Flags cannot be flown at half-mast on poles that are angled from the vertical, but a mourning cravat can be used instead (see below).

When a flag is to be flown at half-mast, it should first be raised all the way to the top of the mast, allowed to remain there for a second and then be lowered to the half-mast position. When it is being lowered from half-mast, it should again be raised to the top of the mast for a second before being fully lowered.

When a British national flag is at half-mast, other flags on the same stand of poles should also be at half-mast or should not be flown at all. The Union flag, British ensigns, constituent-national flags (eg. England, Scotland, Wales), county flags, other community flags, house flags and banners of arms can all be flown at half-mast. Flags of foreign nations, or non-British organisations, should not be flown, unless their country is also observing mourning or has given special permission to fly their flag at half-mast.

In the case of the death of HM The Queen, her other realms (Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu) will also be observing national mourning and so their flags can be flown at half-mast. President Biden has ordered USA flags to be flown at half-mast until the day of the funeral, and so the USA flag can also be flown at half-mast. We have also contacted the Ukrainian Embassy, as many public buildings are currently flying Ukrainian flags in support of Ukraine, and they have given permission for the Ukrainian flag to be flown at half-mast for the period of national mourning.

Note: the Royal Standard never flies at half-mast. It represents the Monarchy, which is continuous, and it would therefore be inappropriate for it to fly at half-mast. If His Majesty is in a building, or its precincts, and the Royal Standard is to be flown, it should be flown at full-mast.

Four flags at full-mast

A stand of four flags: UK, Canada, Germany and Buckinghamshire


The same stand at half-mast. Germany is not observing national mourning for Her Majesty and so its flag needs to be removed. Canada, as a Commonwealth realm, is observing national mourning so it can remain

Flags should be flown at half-mast from the 8th September until 8am on the day after the funeral (expected to be Monday, 19th September) except on Proclamation Day (10th September in England and 11th September in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) when flags are flown at full-mast following the proclamation at 11am. Note that flags with mourning cravats do not need to have them removed.

An alternative mark of mourning, used when half-masting is unsuitable, is to add a black cravat or ribbon to the top of the flag, at the hoist. This is a simple bow of fabric with long tails, similar to the tying of a shoelace. On flags flying outside it is suggested to add a cravat on both the obverse and reverse of the flag so it can be clearly seen from any direction. The cravat can be made of any available black fabric.

Flags using mourning cravats: an indoor flag on a stand, two flags on angled poles and a flag displayed against a wall

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