However, there will come a day when the worst happens – and there is a code word and meticulous plan in place. Operation London Bridge, as the procedure is known, has been common knowledge within the media and kept under wraps for years, but in a long article published today, The Guardian revealed the detailed plan for when the monarch passes away.
It’s unclear exactly why The Guardian decided to divulge the information – and the paper’s decision has been criticised on social media – but the article is a gripping read and will have you hooked. Sam Knight, the freelance journalist who authored the piece, writes that the taboo surrounding the Queen’s death, “like much to do with the monarchy, is not entirely rational, and masks a parallel reality. The next great rupture in Britain’s national life has, in fact, been planned to the minute.”
So, here’s exactly what will happen when Queen Elizabeth dies.
• The first official to be told the news will be the Queen’s private secretary, Sir Christopher Geidt. Geidt will then contact the Prime Minister, who may need to be woken from his or her sleep, and will be told “London Bridge is down” – they will know immediately what that means.
• Next, the Foreign Office will alert 15 foreign governments. The news will then be communicated to 36 other countries in the Commonwealth, for whom the Queen is a symbolic figurehead.
• Governors general, ambassadors and prime ministers will then be told before the media alerts the general public. The news will go out as a newsflash to the Press Association and global media simultaneously. A footman will pin a notice to the Buckingham Palace gates and its website will be “transformed into a sombre, single page, showing the same text on a dark background,” reported The Guardian.
• Then, the barrage of non-stop media coverage will commence – most news organisations will already have days’ (if not weeks') worth of coverage planned. Regular programming will be interrupted, TV networks will merge and newsreaders will wear black as a mark of respect. News channels have already enlisted royal experts to discuss the news. Commercial radio stations will begin playing “inoffensive music” before making the announcement.
• Britain will then enter a period of mourning. Prince Charles will become King Charles at 11 am the next day. Prince William will become the Prince of Wales and Kate will become the Princess of Wales (Diana’s former title). “Both houses of parliament will be recalled, people will go home from work early, and aircraft pilots will announce the news to their passengers,” The Guardian reported. “It will be 10 days of sorrow and spectacle in which, rather like the dazzling mirror of the monarchy itself, we will revel in who we were and avoid the question of what we have become.”
• Before she is buried, the Queen’s coffin will “lie in state” for four full days. The palace expects half a million people will come and pay their respects. The funeral – funded by the public – will take place on the twelfth day after her death. The coffin will be taken to Westminster Abbey by gun carriage and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will lead the service. World leaders and heads of state from all over the world will attend and members of the public will likely line the route of the funeral cortège.
• After the funeral, the Queen’s body could be buried at a number of locations, including her properties in Balmoral or Sandringham, or in a plot at the St. George’s Chapel in Windsor next to her father King George VI.
Buckingham Palace hasn’t commented on the revelations, as it doesn’t discuss funeral arrangements for members of the royal family.