Queen's Funeral Secret Plans, Codenamed 'Operation London Bridge,' Leaked

British Royals
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Alexandra Lozovschi

Shrouded in secrecy for many years, the plan of action in the event of Her Majesty The Queen's death has been leaked to POLITICO after being updated during the coronavirus pandemic.

The media outlet reported yesterday that it had obtained documents showing "the full extent of the preparations undertaken by the royal family and the Cabinet Office" for the 10 days of mourning between the queen's death and her state funeral at Westminster Abbey.

According to POLITICO, the leaked plan is codenamed "Operation London Bridge." Among the leaked documents were also details on the closely-guarded plan for Prince Charles' accession to the throne, also known as "Operation Spring Tide."

Here's a breakdown of it all.

D-Day: Official Announcements Made & Flags Lowered

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While Queen Elizabeth II is currently in excellent health at the age of 95, British officials will be referring internally to the day of her passing as "D-Day." Subsequently, the next 10 days leading up to the funeral will be referred to as “D+1" through “D+10.”

When D-Day comes, the first person outside Buckingham Palace to be told the sad news will be the Prime Minister, who will be informed by the queen’s private secretary.

"It is not clear if the code 'London Bridge has fallen' will be used by Buckingham Palace but this has been the rumor since the plan was first drawn up in the 1960s," notes the Daily Mail.

Soon after that, a "call cascade" will take place to deliver the news to members of the Cabinet, Privy Council, and senior figures in the Armed Forces. The public will then be informed through an "official notification" via the TV and press.

Within 10 minutes of the queen's passing, all flags on Whitehall and across state buildings will be lowered to half-mast, as was the case when Prince Phillip passed away this April.


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D-Day+1: Prince Charles Is Proclaimed King

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On the day after the queen's death, the Accession Council will convene at St. James’ Palace at 10 a.m. to proclaim King Charles the new sovereign.

"All men will be expected to wear morning dress or lounge suits with black or dark ties. No medals or decorations can be worn," notes the Daily Mail, detailing the Accession Council is made up of Privy Counsellors, Great Officers of State, the Lord Mayor and City Civic party, Realm High Commissioners, and certain senior civil servants.

After that, Parliament will meet to agree on a message of condolence and to give tributes in the House of Commons. All other parliamentary business will be suspended for 10 days.

That afternoon, at 3:30 p.m., the prime minister and the Cabinet will hold an audience with the new king.

D-Day+2 To D-Day+4

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On the second day after the queen's death, her body will be brought to Buckingham Palace. Depending on the place of her passing, whether it is her Norfolk residence of Sandringham, Balmoral in Scotland, or another location, the coffin will be carried either by royal train, plane, or car -- a differently codenamed operation is in place for each scenario.

The next day (D-Day+3), king Charles will embark on a tour of the U.K., starting with Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament, where he will receive a "motion of condolence" from the MPs. On the same day, he will travel to Edinburgh to visit the Scottish parliament and attend a memorial service at St. Giles Cathedral.

The next day (D-Day+4), king Charles will fly to Northern Ireland to receive a motion of condolence at Hillsborough Castle and attend a service at St. Anne's Cathedral in Belfast.

D-Day+5 To D-Day+9

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On D-Day+5, the queen's coffin will be carried from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster to lie in state for the next three days (until D-Day+9). The procession will be a great military parade and will take place along a ceremonial route through London.

Starting with D-Day+6, the heads of state and VIPs will visit Westminster to pay their respects. The public will also be granted entry with the palace remaining open 23 hours a day.

King Charles will fly to Wales for the final leg of his U.K. tour, where he will attend a memorial service at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff.

The Department for Transport, Home Office and Border Force will make preparations in anticipation of the vast number of foreign tourists expected to travel to London for the queen's funeral. According to the leaked documents, as many as 1 million people are expected to flood into the capital at that time.

D-Day+10: The Queen's Funeral

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The day of the queen's funeral will be declared a "Day of National Mourning." The state funeral is to take place at Westminster Abbey next to the Palace of Westminster. At midday, there will be a two minutes' silence across the nation.

Her majesty will then be moved to St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle for a committal service, upon which the queen will be buried next to her husband Prince Philip in the castle's King George VI Memorial Chapel.

While it's unclear when Prince Charles' coronation will be held, the Daily Mail points out that Queen Elizabeth II was crowned 16 months after King George VI died.