The official announcement from Buckingham Palace will have been preceded by a “call cascade”, with the prime minister informed personally by the Queen’s private secretary, and the news passed through to the cabinet secretary and privy council office, which coordinates government work on behalf of the monarch. Only then will the “official notification” have been made to the public.

Ceremonial gun salutes are expected at Hyde Park and at Tower Hill, and a national minute’s silence will be held.

King Charles will conduct his first audience with the prime minister. He will also meet with the Earl Marshal to officially sign off on the full funeral plans, with the state funeral, expected to be held in 10 days’ time. Charles will give a broadcast to the country and the Commonwealth on Thursday evening.