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Student Communications

Message to students: Issued 15 September 2022

Dear students,

I am writing to update you on arrangements for the coming days during our period of national mourning.

Our positive relationships with our partners, including Durham County Council and Durham Cathedral, enable collective leadership and resilience in supporting our communities during this time.  

The number of messages I have received from our overseas partners, including from Zaporizhzhia National University, our twinned University in Ukraine, is testament to our international network of mutual support.

Service of Reflection, Saturday 17 September  

A number of commemorative events are taking place across Durham City, County and our nation. I am privileged to be representing the University at the Service of Reflection taking place at Durham Cathedral on Saturday at 3pm. The service is ticketed and fully booked. It will be live streamed through the Cathedral’s Facebook page. For further information, see the Cathedral’s webpages.

Please be aware that footfall around Palace Green will be busier than normal on Saturday afternoon.

Sunday 18 September: National Moment of Reflection 

A National Moment of Reflection has been scheduled at 8pm on Sunday 18 September, the night before the State Funeral. All members of the public are invited to take part in a minute’s silence.

Open Days, Friday and Saturday 16-17 September

Our Open Days will take place tomorrow and Saturday. Appropriate arrangements are in place for the additional footfall around Palace Green.

Monday 19 September: University arrangements for the State Funeral

The University will be closed on Monday 19 September, a national Bank Holiday.

For the latest updates, visit our website: Her Majesty The Queen - Durham University

With warmest wishes,

Professor Karen O’Brien
Vice-Chancellor & Warden

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Message to students: Issued 12 September 2022

Dear students,

Following the announcement of the death of Her Majesty The Queen, a period of national mourning has started and will continue until the end of the State Funeral. 

The official date of the State Funeral is Monday 19 September 2022. This will be a Bank Holiday.

In line with U.K. Government guidelines, the University has taken the decision to close on that day.   

Business critical services will continue. All teaching due to take place on Monday 19 September will be postponed unless otherwise advised.

Other than Monday 19 September, our University remains open and will operate as usual. 

Further information and contacts

Further information will follow via email and our usual communications channels.

All latest updates are published on our web pages:  

For any questions which are not addressed, contact   

Best wishes,

Professor Janet Stewart 
Executive Dean (Arts and Humanities)

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Message to students: Issued 09 September 2022

Dear students, 

Following the recent announcement of the death of Her Majesty Elizabeth II, I am writing with the latest information on University operations as we enter a period of national mourning.   

The University is operating to national and local guidelines in this fast moving and unprecedented situation. We will endeavour to keep you updated through our usual channels and regular updates on our dedicated web page

Operations during the mourning period 

We have now entered a period of national mourning. 

The University has planned ahead for this eventuality and is following guidance supplied by the UK Government for business operations during this time. We continue to operate under business as usual during the mourning period, noting there will be specific guidance for the date of the funeral.  

We will remain mindful and sympathetic to the current context, sharing all information as we receive it.  

Key website links for guidance  

Guidance on national mourning is here:

Our web pages will be regularly updated. For our microsite, see: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II - Durham University  

Latest information, along with other related content such as details of services, prayers and commemorative events being organised by members of the University’s Chaplaincy Network, will be included on this website in due course.  

We will also include information from our partners at Durham County Council, Durham Cathedral and other agencies as appropriate. As with other events of national significance, we are working closely with our regional partners. 

Events and activities 

For any scheduled activities, members of the University community should be mindful that we are in a national period of mourning and consider if content, tone and format need to be adapted accordingly. This is particularly the case with social events. Please also be mindful of attire.  

Paying tribute 

An online Book of Condolence is available until the day after the funeral at: A selection of messages will be passed on to the Royal Family and stored in the Royal Archives for posterity.  

A physical Book of Condolence is also available at Durham Cathedral. Visitors are welcome to visit to pay their respects, leave a comment in the book of condolence, light a candle and say a prayer. There will be a full peal of Cathedral bells ahead of Evensong at 5.30pm tomorrow, Saturday 10 September. 

Arrangements are in place for local and regional remembrance services. Details of these will be shared via our dedicated website mentioned above. 

Durham County Council has requested that any floral tributes are placed in a designated area in Millennium Square in Durham City Centre. We ask that people do not leave flowers on Palace Green. 


Any student requiring support may access our Student Support and Wellbeing services. Support is also available from the University’s Multi-Faith Chaplaincy.   


This is a changing situation and one that we must navigate as a university in a respectful manner, regardless of personal views and beliefs. 

Further information and updates will be shared over the coming days. If you have any questions that are not addressed by the information on the website, please direct them to  

Many thanks for your continued support.    

Best wishes, 

Professor Janet Stewart 
Executive Dean (Arts and Humanities)

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Message to students: Issued 08 September 2022

Dear students,

It was with deep sadness that we learned of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, a short time ago, after 70 years on the throne.

Our thoughts are with members of the Royal Family at this time. On behalf of our university community, I will be writing to offer our sincere condolences to our new King.

Links with Durham

Her Majesty had numerous links with Durham. We welcomed her to our University on various occasions, including when our ‘Stockton Campus’ was renamed on its tenth anniversary as ‘Queen’s Campus’ in recognition of Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee in 2002.

Her Majesty’s last visit to Durham was during her Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012.


This sad news will no doubt impact people in different ways, depending on their views, beliefs and experiences. As an inclusive community, we will continue to treat each other with respect.

If you need any support, please contact your College’s Student Support Office in the first instance. The Counselling and Mental Health Service is also available for students to self-refer. The University’s chaplains can provide a listening ear and are available to students of all faiths, beliefs and worldviews.

Immediate action

As we enter this period of national mourning and until further notice, in line with national guidance, we will be taking a number of actions.

We will continue to communicate essential practical information or in the case of emergency. The majority of our general communications will be paused.  

Further information and updates will be shared over the coming days.  

Best wishes,

Professor Karen O’Brien
Vice-Chancellor & Warden

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