What happens when Queen Elizabeth II passes away has been planned out for years, in an operation with the codename London Bridge.
The Royal Family announced her death on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 8.
The plans that follow go into immense detail, including how Britain’s prime minister will be notified, a 10-day schedule from her death to the funeral and plans for London to be flooded with mourners to pay their respects.
According to POLITICO, which obtained a copy of the London Bridge planning last year, the day of the queen’s death will be internally known as “D-Day,” and her funeral will be held on D-Day+10.
On the day of her death, the queen’s private secretary would have first informed the prime minister, who would in turn notify the cabinet secretary and the most senior British officials.The public was notified by the royal household.
According to The Guardian, the phrase “London Bridge is down,” would be said on secure phone lines.
On social media, the United Kingdom’s government accounts and its website will display a black banner. Flags will be lowered to half-staff across British government buildings.
POLITICO reported that plans will be set in motion for the new King Charles to speak that evening to the nation, before he begins his ascension to the throne the next day. The plans call for a 6 p.m. address, but her death was announced after that time on Thursday, so it’s unclear when the address will take place.
There will be a proclamation confirming Charles as the new monarch, read both at St. James’ Palace and the Royal Exchange in the City of London.
All other government business will be suspended for ten days.
During that time, the Queen’s coffin will return to Buckingham Palace before a procession that takes it to Westminster Hall, The Guardian reported.
King Charles will go on a tour of the United Kingdom, receiving messages of condolence from Scotland to Northern Ireland.
Then, the Queen’s coffin will lie at Westminster for public viewing 23 hours per day for four days, then closed off to public view until her funeral, which will take place 10 days after her death.
According to POLITICO, transportation officials are concerned “that the number of people who may want to travel to London could cause major problems for the transport network, and lead to overcrowding in the capital.”
That includes the possibility that the capital becomes “full” for the first time “as potentially hundreds of thousands of people try to make their way there — with accommodation, roads, public transport, food, policing, healthcare and basic services stretched to breaking point.”
The funeral will be a National Day of Mourning and will be held at Westminster Abbey, according to The Guardian.
They report that at 11 a.m., when the coffin reaches the Abbey doors, the country will go completely quiet — public transportation, television, everything will stop.
The archbishop will speak inside, and the royal family will say their prayers.
The Royal Navy will then transport her coffin in a grand procession of 23 miles — surrounded by thousands of mourners from all over the U.K. and the world — to Windsor Castle, where Britain’s royal leaders are buried.
Fact or Myth? 20 Surprising Facts About Queen Elizabeth II
As the queen prepares to mark an astonishing 70 years on the throne, find out more about the longest-reigning monarch in British history.
Queen Elizabeth II Facts
1. The queen is known for her love of corgis—in fact, she has owned more than 30 of the breed throughout her life—but did you know that she bred the first dorgi? Her sister Princess Margaret‘s pet dog—a dachshund called Pippin—had some alone time with one of the queen’s corgis and history was made.
2. Post-war austerity measures meant that the then-Princess Elizabeth bought the material for her wedding dress with WWII coupons. She was helped by the British government, which granted her an extra 200 clothing ration coupons, and brides-to-be sent the princess the coupons meant for their own special days. (However, the queen had to return these as members of the royal family are not allowed to accept gifts from the public.) Eventually, Elizabeth married Prince Philip in a stunning wedding gown made by Norman Hartnell from Chinese silk
3. Elizabeth’s diamond tiara snapped on the morning of her wedding in 1947 as it was being secured to her veil. With only two hours till showtime, the headpiece—a halo of diamond-studded spikes created in 1919 for Elizabeth’s grandmother Queen Mary—was rushed to the workshop of the royal jewelry house Garrard under police escort, where it was hastily welded together.
4. The queen was gifted a miniature cottage when she was six years old. Y Bwthyn Bach (which means ‘Little House’) is an adorable thatched wendy house given to Princess Elizabeth by the people of Wales on her sixth birthday. It was placed in the grounds of Royal Lodge in Windsor. The house was modeled on a typical Welsh cottage and contained a miniature radio, china set, portrait of the queen’s mother, books, pots, pans, brooms and a working telephone—all made to scale.
5. The queen’s birthplace is now a world-famous restaurant. A London townhouse at 17 Bruton Street was the home of her maternal grandparents and saw the birth of the baby that would go to become Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. It’s now a Cantonese restaurant called Hakkasan.
6. The queen races pigeons! She keeps a flock of 200 pigeons at her country estate of Sandringham.
7. You may know that all unmarked swans on Britain’s waterways are technically owned by the queen, but did you know that she also owns all the dolphins and whales in British waters? They are known as “fishes royal.”
8. The queen and Prince Philip received over 2,500 wedding gifts when they married in 1947. Because nylon stockings were in limited supply due to clothes rationing, 131 pairs were sent to Elizabeth by women across the country. The couple also received a box of apples, 500 tins of pineapple and an $83 million necklace.
9. Elizabeth met Philip when she was just eight years old and he was 13 at the wedding of Prince George (Elizabeth’s brother) and Princess Marina (Philip’s cousin). Elizabeth and Philip are themselves third cousins. When Philip was 18, he began writing to 13-year-old Elizabeth. Seven years later, they were engaged.
10. The queen is fluent in French.
11. The queen successfully lobbied to have her land in Scotland exempt from an initiative to cut carbon emissions, and her household is exempt from laws that make it illegal for employers to refuse to hire someone based on their race or ethnicity.
12. You know those brightly colored outfits complete with matching hats that the queen is so fond of? Well, there’s a reason that she dresses in shades of bright pink, yellow and green. It’s so that she will always stand out in a crowd. She’s pretty short, so wearing neon and pastel shades help people catch a glimpse of her during public engagements.
13. The queen has a glass of champagne every night. She also starts the day off with a gin cocktail, although given her recent health issues she might have cut back a bit.
14. Since 1989 queen wears one shade of nail polish and one shade only: Ballet Slippers by Essie, a shade of palest pearly pink, and the queen’s first bottle was originally ordered for her by her hairdresser.
15. When she’s at Balmoral, the queen is woken by a bagpiper playing under her window every morning at 7:30. Apparently it goes on for a full fifteen minutes. You’d sure be ready to get up and start the day’s business of queening after that!
16. The queen has at least 30 godchildren, including Princess Diana‘s brother, the Earl Spencer.
17. In 1944, when Princess Elizabeth was 18, she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service with which she trained as a truck driver and a mechanic in order to play her part in a war that began when she was 13 years old. She is the only female member of the British royal family to have served in the military.
18. The queen is the only person in the UK who is not required to have a driving license or license plate on her vehicle. She also doesn’t need a passport to travel, as all British passports are issued in her name.
19. The queen has two birthdays! She turned 96 on April 21, 2022, but celebrates her official birthday in June, in the midst of her jubilee celebrations. The tradition of the monarch celebrating an “official” birthday began more than 250 years ago, with King George II deciding to publicly celebrate his birthday in the summer rather than cold and wet November. And so, since 1748, every British monarch has carried on the tradition, so that there would be less chance of poor weather impeding outdoor celebrations and military parades celebrating their birthdays.
20. The queen has sat for almost 150 portraits during her reign and in 2012 sat for a holographic portrait called “Equanimity” by Chris Levine and Rob Munday, in which 10,000 images were layered one over the other to create the three-dimensional image. Later it was repurposed in a new work called “The Diamond Queen” to mark the queen’s diamond jubilee in 2012. The project saw London jewelry Asprey overlay 1,100 white diamonds over the tiara she wears in the portrait.