Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, died Thursday at the age of 96. This is a sad time for Britain and the world, but the Crown has been preparing for it since the 1960s.
As Britain honors the Queen’s life and reign, a long-held plan, meticulously orchestrated by the palace, the government, and the Queen herself, codenamed Operation London Bridge, is now set in motion.
This procedure sets out exactly what will happen over the next 10 days, including where the coffin of the Queen will lie, preparation for the funeral, and the transition of power.
Here’s what will happen in the days to come:
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The Call: ‘London Bridge is down’
According to the plan, Queen Elizabeth’s private secretary Sir Edward Young was supposed to be the first official to announce the news by contacting the prime minister, whose civil servants were expected to say the code phrase “London Bridge is down.”
Upon the Queen’s death, the alarm at the BBC that signals national emergencies was activated. The BBC presenters abruptly changed into mourning attire of black suits and ties. The BBC’s logo, which is usually red, was changed to black.
After notifying the Prime Minister, the news went out to the 15 governments where the Queen was still head of state, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, and the Bahamas, as well as officials in the 38 other nations in the Commonwealth.
Flags across the royal residences and various government buildings were lowered to half-mast out of respect. In the tradition of decades of royal announcements, a dark-edged notice was placed on the gates of Buckingham Palace. Palace. The same notice was displayed on the palace’s official website.
Ceremonial gun salutes and a national minute’s silence is expected to be held on the first day of mourning.
The transition of power: The Queen is Dead. Long live The King.
On the first day after the Queen’s death, flags will be raised again, and the Prince of Wales will officially become the King. The lawmakers in Parliament will take oaths of allegiance to the new King.
After that, the King will undertake a tour of the U.K., stopping in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales to attend services.
Because the 96-year-old monarch died at her remote highlands residence, Balmoral in Scotland, it actually triggers a separate plan called Operation Unicorn. In preparation for the state funeral, business in the Scottish Parliament will be suspended, while the Queen’s body will be taken from Edinburgh’s Holyroodhouse to St Giles’ Cathedral. After two days, the Queen’s body will be transported back to London on the Royal Train, to return to the throne room in Buckingham Palace.
The Funeral: Operation Feather
Four days after the Queen’s death, there will be a ceremonial procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall. There the coffin will lie in state for five days, borne on a gun carriage. The coffin will be open to the public for 23 hours a day. The Queen will be buried ten days after passing.
On the eve of the funeral, King Charles will welcome foreign royal families attending.
The state funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey. The nation will observe two minutes of silence. A large ceremonial procession will accompany the coffin after the one-hour service to Hyde Park, where it will be transferred from the gun carriage to the state hearse and transported to Windsor.
During a committal service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, the coffin will be lowered into the royal vault.
There will be two thousand invited guests to attend the funeral, which will be broadcast globally.