Its a bizzare chain of events to be fair.
Historically speaking the Roman Catholic ArchBishop of Westminster is the Cardinal for England, and the Roman Catholic ArchBishop of Edinburgh is Cardinal for Scotland and Wales.
The Roman Catholic Church forces ArchBishops out of their Cathedra at Seventy Five Years of age, and immediately install a new ArchBishop...However, Bishop Emeritus forever keep their Cardinal Status...and are elligable to vote in a Conclave until they are Eighty Years of age.
This technically leaves the vatican with a slight issue of when to Elivate the ArchBishop of Westminster, to the Position of Cardinal...because if the Elivation happens in the first five years of his Pontificate, then were a Conclave to be called...BOTH the Current and Previous ArchBishops of Westminster would technically speaking both be Cardinals, and Both be elliagble to vote.
Such a situation happened when Cardinal Cormac of Westminster gave way to Vincent...HOWEVER...Although Cormac has passed Eighty, and thus can not vote...Vincent hasnt been Elivated...and thus isnt a Cardinal yet...he will probably be the first Cardinal of the new pope...but that will be too late for the conclave that ellected him
This bizzare twist means no English Cardinal will be within the Conclave.
The Cardinal for Scotland and Wales has passed his seventy fifth birthday and was due to retire at the end of the year, but this week he became accused of sexual abuse...and so the Vatican have told him to go immediately and NOT to bother coming to conclave...because, obviously, he is an elligable voter for the next five years, but they do not want him to ellect the new pope whilst under investigate...His replacement hasnt even been made archbishop yet, let alone elivated.
So...there is no representation for the Churches of the United Kingdom in the Papal Conclave due to begin...apparently they are dropping like flies...one of the Cardinals in the Orient has said his health is so poor he can not get to Rome and so will not go into Conclave...and there is a campaign to try to stop the Roman Catholic Cardinal of Los Angeles from going with accusations of helping sex abuse priests.
The Pontificate of Benedict will terminate around sundown on February 28th. After that the Roman Curia will take control of the See and declair "Sede Vacante" which means "The Empty Seat" in reference to the Throne of the Bishop of Rome...which is the actual Mother Church of the Roman Pope (it is NOT Saint Peters Basilica in the Vatican...infact I believe its not in the Vatican State at all, but truely is in Rome) Benedict will be known as Bishop Emeritus of Rome.
Traditionally the Conclave can be as long as 20 days after Sede Vacante begins...but Benedict did change the law last week, to basically say that Conclave should begin as soon as all elligable Cardinals who want to vote, reach Rome.
Conclave will take as long as it takes...and then the Vatican will release "Habamus Papem" meaning "We have a Pope" and the new insignia of the ellected member, plus his Papal Name will be created. The Roman Curia will then release the See of Peter, and the Bishop of Rome will take posession of his Cathedral in Rome, followed by Saint Peters Basilica
then...we start alllllll over again