What happens when the queen dies? Operation London Bridge

What happens when the queen dies?  Operation London Bridge
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It’s not every day that a serving British monarch dies. There has to be a plan. And so, with the death of Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96 on Thursday, the long-awaited “Operation London Bridge” sprang into action.

Named after an old London landmark that was always “falling”, Operation London Bridge was the code word attributed to a sequence of formally choreographed events that would occur after the death of the British monarch.

The not-so-secret plan has never been officially released, though versions have been leaked several times over the years. It is designed to ensure not only that news of the queen’s death is reported in a dignified manner and her memory commemorated, but also to ensure the continuation of the royal throne as Britain’s head of state.

According to one version of the procedure published by The Guardian after a 2017 investigationnews of the queen’s passing would be announced privately by the queen’s private secretary with a code phrase:

“London Bridge is down.”

According to accounts of the plan, the day of death is known as “D-Day”.

As per expected procedure, after the death of the British monarch, his replacement takes office immediately. This means that after Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday, her son Prince Charles automatically became monarch, and in her case, he became King Charles III.

For the BBC, a state-funded broadcaster, the procedure is complicated. The news is expected to be delivered carefully and somberly, with presenters dressed in black to dignify the importance of what happened. A national emergency alarm, little used, will sound in the offices.

Veteran presenter Jeremy Paxman wrote that in the 1970s and 1980s, journalists were expected to come one weekend every six months to conduct the proceedings for Elizabeth’s death. “Long sets of patterns were produced and laminated in plastic,” Paxman wrote in his book “about royalty.”

But some things have changed. On Thursday, news of the queen’s passing was shared for the first time on a Twitter account. belonging to the royal family. However, it was widely expected, and the BBC and other networks were already all black.

Flags were lowered to half-staff across the country, and a death notice was posted both at Buckingham Palace and on the royal website.

The next few days are considered D-Day+1, D-Day+2, and so on, depending on leaked documents published by Politico last year. Exactly how these days will unfold is not yet clear, but we have a rough outline of centuries of monarchical practice.

An “Accession Council” is expected to meet on Saturday, later than usual. The body usually assembles within 24 hours of the monarch’s death, at St. James’s Palace, where many important events in royal history have taken place. It houses officials and some royals for King Charles’s accession proceedings.

The council formally declares the death of the monarch and the ascension of the successor to the throne, according to the Privy Council, a formal advisory body to the monarch. The Accession Council is chaired by the Chairman of the Privy Council: Penny Mordaunt, a Conservative Member of Parliament and Leader of the House of Commons.

Later, although not always on the same day, the new sovereign or head of state will hold his first session with privy councillors. The monarch will take an oath to protect the Church of Scotland, which has been taken by every monarch since George I in 1714. Signed copies of the oath are then sent to official record keepers.

The proclamation marking the monarch’s accession is later read from the balcony above Friary Court in St. James’s Palace, accompanied by gun salutes. After the proclamation announcing Charles’s accession is read, for the first time since 1952, the national anthem with the words “God Save the King” will be played.

On Saturday, the queen’s body is expected to be transported to Buckingham Palace. As she died at Balmoral in Scotland, her family’s summer retreat, it is not yet clear whether the coffin will be transported by royal train or by plane.

When the queen’s body returns to Buckingham Palace, a small number of senior government ministers, including the prime minister, will attend a reception. Her body is expected to remain in that palace until Tuesday, when it will be transferred to the Palace of Westminster and another service will be held.

The queen will rest in the Westminster Hall of the palace. She will lie in a raised box known as a catafalque, and members of the public, as well as VIPs, will be able to visit her to pay their respects.

Meanwhile, the king will receive the motion of condolences in Westminster Hall and will later begin a tour of the United Kingdom. He is expected to visit Scotland first, probably on Sunday, before traveling to Northern Ireland on Monday. His last trip, to Wales, is scheduled for D-Day+7, which is next Thursday.

The Queen’s state funeral is expected to take place on D+10 Day, which is Sunday 1 September. 18, at London’s Westminster Abbey. Heads of state and other personalities from abroad will attend. Later, there will be an internment service at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, a royal home on the outskirts of London, and the queen will be buried inside King George VI’s Memorial Chapel inside St. George’s Chapel.

Britons will probably get the day off if the state funeral is on weekdays. Politico reported last year that the British government was concerned about the large influx of crowds to funeral places.

The funeral of Queen Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip, last year may provide something of a model, although it was clearly on a smaller scale. That funeral took place on April 17, 2021. Although Prince Philip did not receive a state funeral, which is reserved for monarchs, he was laid to rest after a service at St. George’s Chapel. Philip was buried in the Royal Vault at St. George’s Chapel, but his remains will be transferred to King George VI’s Memorial Chapel so that he can rest with the queen.

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