London Bridge Is Down

For the death of the monarch, there is a sophisticated protocol that specifies the next few days in Great Britain – summarized under the code name “Operation London Bridge”. Created by the Queen herself, to assure everything will go as planned, while the nation will still be under shock.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II. has died at the age of 96. This was announced by Buckingham Palace Thursday in the afternoon, US times. With her death, an era comes to an end. Her successor on the throne is her son, Prince Charles, who will have to decide what he wants his regnal name to be. Elizabeth decided to use her birth name, and Charles might follow her example and will reign as King Charles III.

“London Bridge is down.” With this sentence the Queen’s private secretary informed the British Prime Minister of the Queen’s death. According to the Association of Foreign Press in the UK, a whole series of steps will follow, summarized under the code name “Operation London Bridge”.

Here is the overview:

  • The Foreign Office transmitted the message to governments outside the UK where the Queen is head of state and to the other Commonwealth countries.
  • The day the Queen died is called D-Day. Each subsequent day until the day of the funeral is referred to as D-Day+1, D-Day+2, and so on.
  • Ministers and Royals will be informed of the death by e-mail. Ten minutes after the announcement of the Queen’s death, the flags on Whitehall Street in London’s government district were lowered to half-mast.
  • The British news agency Press Association sent a lightning message. At the same time, at Buckingham Palace, the official notice of death was attached to the gate.

The British Parliament and parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are adjourned.

The Prime Minister will be the first to make a statement.

The royal family will release plans for the state funeral, which is expected to take place ten days after death. A national minute’s silence is announced.

Elizabeth II is succeeded by her son Prince Charles. It is not yet clear what name he will take as king –it could be Charles III or George VII. He was baptized Charles Philip Arthur George and could take any of these names.

The new king will give an address to the nation.

D-Day+1

  • A council meets at 10 a.m. to proclaim the king the new monarch. The proclamation will be read at St. James’s Palace and the Royal Exchange, the site of London’s first stock exchange, confirming Charles as king.
  • Parliament meets to adopt a statement of condolences. All parliamentary work will be suspended for ten days.
  • The Prime Minister and cabinet will meet with the new king at 3.30pm.

D-Day+2

The Queen’s coffin will be taken to Buckingham Palace if it is not already there.

The Queen died in Balmoral, Scotland and her body will be transferred by royal train to London (“Operation Unicorn”). If this is not possible, her body will be flown back to London.

D-Day+3

  • The new king will receive the condolence request at Westminster Hall.
  • He then embarks on a funeral tour of the United Kingdom, starting with Scotland. He will receive a request for condolences in the Scottish Parliament and attend a service at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.

D-Day+4

  • The King will arrive in Northern Ireland, where he will receive another condolence at Hillsborough Castle and attend a service at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.

D-Day+5

“Operation Lion” The Queen’s coffin is transferred from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster on a route through London. A memorial service is held at Westminster Hall.

D-Day+6

  • “Operation Feather”: The Queen is laid out in the Palace of Westminster for three days. The coffin will be open to the public for 23 hours a day.
  • Rehearsal for the state funeral procession.

D-Day+7

  • The King travels to Wales to receive a motion from the Welsh Parliament and attend a service at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff.

D-Day+8 and 9

  • The coffin is laid out. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected in London to pay their last respects to the Queen. Books of condolence are opened online.

D-Day+10

  • State Day of Mourning
  • The state funeral takes place in Westminster Abbey.
  • There will be two minutes of silence throughout the country at noon.
  • Processions take place in London and Windsor.
  • The Queen is buried at Windsor Castle in the King George VI Memorial Chapel next to her father. The portrait of the queen is hung with a black ribbon in all town halls for a month before being replaced by a portrait of the new king.

Farewell Your Majesty

10 thoughts on “London Bridge Is Down

  1. Dear Bridget,

    Hello! I have returned to make a more substantial comment. I hope that you have been keeping well. One month has elapsed since Her Royal Majesty passed away, allowing us to have some time to reflect more fully on the late Queen’s legacy.

    I have finally had the chance to publish something much lesser known about Her Royal Majesty in a special post entitled “🎼🎹 Pondering Musical Lineage on the Queen’s Birthday 👑🍰“, available at

    🎼🎹 Pondering Musical Lineage on the Queen’s Birthday 👑🍰

    In addition, please turn on your finest speakers or headphones, as the multimedia post will be playing music to you automatically for about three and a half minutes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been so impressed with all of the ceremonial protocols, and I’m so grateful that we are able to witness and be present via television coverage. My British grandmother instilled in me a tremendous interest and respect for Queen Elizabeth that started when I was very young, and has continued. On the west coast the Queen’s funeral service will be aired “in the middle of the night,” but I will be watching.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Small pedantic correction Bridget. This from a local paper in Sydney:
    “The Queen’s death has triggered Operation Unicorn, the codename for the monarch’s carefully designed funeral plans in the event of her death in Scotland (they are known as Operation London Bridge if she had died in England)”

    Liked by 2 people

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