The plan for following Queen Elizabeth's death is known as Operation London Bridge

Queen Elizabeth's death

It is not every day that a reigning British king passes away. There must be a strategy. As a result of Queen Elizabeth II's death on Thursday at the age of 96, the long-awaited "Operation London Bridge" was launched.

Operation London Bridge was the code name given to a deliberately scripted sequence of events that would take place following the death of the British monarch. It was named after a former London landmark that was always "coming down."

Though variants of the not-so-secret plan have been leaked multiple times over the years, it has never been formally revealed. It is intended not just to ensure that the queen's death was announced in a respectful manner and that her memory was honored, but also to assure the continuation of the royal throne as Britain's head of state.

According to one account of the protocol released by the Guardian during a 2017 investigation, the queen's private secretary would secretly notify the queen's death with a coded phrase:

Following the death of the British monarch, his or her replacement takes over immediately. This implies that when Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday, her son Prince Charles inherited the throne and became King Charles III.

The method is complicated for the BBC, a state-funded broadcaster. The news is likely to be delivered carefully and solemnly, with hosts dressed in black to reflect the gravity of the situation. In the offices, a rarely utilized national emergency alert will sound.

In the 1970s and 1980s, journalists were expected to come in on a weekend every six months to go through the protocol for Elizabeth's death, according to veteran broadcaster Jeremy Paxman. Paxman claimed in his book "On Royalty" that "long sets of rules were developed and laminated in plastic."

However, some things have changed. The news of the queen's death was initially revealed on Thursday on a royal family Twitter account. However, it was well anticipated, and broadcasters from the BBC and other networks were already in the dark.

Flags were flown at half-staff across the kingdom, and the death was announced on both Buckingham Palace and the official website.

According to leaked documents published by Politico last year, the following days are designated as D-Day+1, D-Day+2, and so on. The specifics of how these days will unfold are unknown, but we can draw certain conclusions from centuries of monarchical experience.

An "Accession Council" meeting is scheduled for Saturday, a day later than usual. The body usually meets within 24 hours following the monarch's death at St. James's Palace, where many significant events in royal history have occurred. It houses officials and several royals for King Charles' accession ceremonies.

According to the Privy Council, a formal advisory body to the monarch, the council formally declares the monarch's death and the accession of the successor to the throne. The Accession Council is chaired by the Lord President of the Privy Council, Penny Mordaunt, a Conservative MP and House of Commons leader.

Later, though not usually on the same day, the new sovereign, or head of state, will meet with privy counselors for the first time. The monarch will take an oath to safeguard the Church of Scotland, as has every monarch since George I in 1714. Official record-keepers receive signed copies of the oath.

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

The queen's body is likely to be brought to Buckingham Palace on Saturday. Because she died at Balmoral, her family's summer resort in Scotland, it is unclear if her coffin will be brought by royal train or by plane.

A small number of top government ministers, including the prime minister, will attend a reception when the queen's body arrives at Buckingham Palace. Her body is anticipated to remain at the Palace of Westminster until Tuesday when it will be transferred to the Palace of Westminster and another service will be held.

The queen will lie in state in Westminster Hall at the palace. Members of the public, as well as VIPs, will be able to pay their respects to her atop a raised box known as a catafalque.

Meanwhile, the king will accept the motion of condolence at Westminster Hall before embarking on a tour of the United Kingdom. He is scheduled to visit Scotland first, most likely on Sunday, before traveling to Northern Ireland on Monday. His final voyage, to Wales, is scheduled for D-Day+7, next Thursday.

The queen's state funeral is scheduled for D-Day+10, Sunday, September 18, at Westminster Abbey in London. Foreign heads of state and other VIPs will be present. Later, a commitment service will be held in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, a royal residence outside of London. The queen will be laid to rest inside King George VI's Memorial Chapel within St. George's Chapel.

If the state burial falls on a weekday, Britons will most likely have the day off. Last year, Politico reported that the British government was concerned about the large crowds during funerals.

The funeral of Queen Elizabeth's husband, Prince Philip, last year, may serve as a model, but on a much lesser scale. The funeral was held on April 17, 2021. Despite not receiving a state funeral, which is reserved for kings, Prince Philip was buried following a service at St. George's Chapel. Philip was interred in the Royal Vault at St. George's Chapel, but his bones will be transported to King George VI's Memorial Chapel to be buried alongside the queen.

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