Government deciding whether UK will have bank holiday following the Queen's death

Members of the public stop in the rain to study a huge picture of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II displayed at Piccadilly Circus in central London on September 8, 2022, after the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, in central London. - Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving monarch in British history and an icon instantly recognisable to billions of people around the world, has died aged 96, Buckingham Palace said on Thursday. (Photo by Ben Stansall / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
A tribute to the Queen is displayed at Piccadilly Circus in central London (Getty Images) (BEN STANSALL via Getty Images)

The government is deciding whether there will be a bank holiday following the death of the Queen, Britain's longest serving monarch.

The UK will now enter a ten-day period of mourning, with the programme of events and tributes set to be outlined by Buckingham Palace.

In a statement on Thursday afternoon, Buckingham Palace 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 decision on whether there will be a bank holiday to mark the Queen's death will be made by the government and Buckingham Palace in the comings days, Downing Street confirmed later on Thursday.

It is possible a national holiday could coincide with the Queen's funeral, which is expected to be held on the final day of mourning.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss delivers a speech outside 10 Downing Street after Queen Elizabeth, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and the nation's figurehead for seven decades, has died aged 96, according to Buckingham Palace, in Downing Street in London, Britain September 8, 2022. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Liz Truss delivers a speech outside 10 Downing Street after the death of the Queen (Reuters) (Peter Nicholls / reuters)

Elsewhere, the Speaker of the House of Commons has announced that MPs will gather at noon in the chamber to pay their respects to the Queen.

Read more: King Charles III - What happens next and when will he be crowned?

Tributes will then continue on Saturday at 2pm in a rare weekend sitting, where a number of senior members of the government will also pledge allegiance to the King.

In a speech from Downing Street, Liz Truss said the Queen was "the rock on which modern Britain was built".

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 08: Members of the public gather outside Buckingham Palace following the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II in London, United Kingdom on September 08, 2022. Buckingham Palace has announced today that Queen Elizabeth II has died peacefully at Balmoral at the age of 96. (Photo by Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Members of the public gather outside Buckingham Palace following the announcement of the death of the Queen (Getty Images) (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“In the difficult days ahead, we will come together with our friends across the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the world to celebrate her extraordinary lifetime of service,” she said.

A Number 10 spokesperson on Thursday night said the prime minister was informed of the Queen’s death at 4.30pm.

Truss spoke to the new King following her speech from Downing Street to the nation just before 7pm.

It is expected government business will be slimmed down during the period of mourning, with only the most important business in each government department continuing.

Key public services - including schools - will remain open.

Watch: Liz Truss pays tribute to the Queen, who has died aged 96

Emergency legislation on energy bills, which was outlined by the prime minister in parliament on Thursday ahead of the Queen's death, will still go head.

Outside Buckingham Palace, crowds broke out into the national anthem following the official announcement of her death, with many weeping after the flag was lowered to half mast.

The Queen's eldest son, now King Charles III, said it was "a moment of greatest sadness for me and all members of my family".

"We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and much-loved mother," he said in a statement.

"I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world."