Queen Elizabeth II of England, 96, died Thursday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where the longest-serving monarch in UK history had spent the summer.
Now the ‘Operation London Bridge’ is underway, which will last several days. The United Kingdom has already planned for a long time and in great detail the next steps. Those details were published by the media Political in September 2021, although years before The Guardian had already advanced some of them. This Thursday, the day of his death, will be called D-Day and the following D + 1, D + 2 and so on until the funeral, which is initially scheduled for D + 10.
In the hours after the death, a “cascade of calls” has informed the Prime Minister, the Cabinet Secretary and some of the highest-level members of the Government. Throughout the afternoon and before publicly learning of her death, the children have traveled to Scotland to be with their mother.
Several media had reported in the past that the announcement to the prime minister would be made with the following message: “London Bridge has fallen”. The documents to which Politico had access detail even the words that members of the Government must use to inform their subordinates.
Flags will be lowered to half-staff at Government buildings and the target set was for this to be completed within 10 minutes. In an exercise carried out several years ago, the Government warned that this would be impossible because it is not certain that there will always be someone present to lower the flag. That seems to have been solved, according to government sources reported to the media.
The website of the Royal House has gone black with a brief statement on the death of Elizabeth II and the Government pages show a black strip at the top, as established in the protocol.
The first person to make a statement will be the prime minister. Later, the head of the Executive will have a meeting with the new king, Carlos, who will deliver a speech to the nation. Finally, a mass will be celebrated at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
At 10am, the so-called Accession Council, which includes high-level government figures, will meet at St. James’s Palace to proclaim Prince Charles king. The guests will have to wear a dark tie.
Parliament will meet to agree on a message of condolences and all activities in the chamber will be suspended for 10 days. At 3:30 p.m., the Prime Minister and the Government will have a meeting with the new king that they will not be able to attend with their partners.
The queen’s coffin returns to Buckingham Palace. If the queen dies at Balmoral Castle, where she is currently, the ‘unicorn’ operation will be activated, in which her body will be transferred to London by royal train. If this is not possible, the trip will be made by plane. The Government will receive the coffin of the queen in an official ceremony.
The new king will receive his condolences in Westminster Hall and in the afternoon he will begin a trip through the rest of the country that will begin with the Scottish Parliament and a mass in Edinburgh Cathedral.
King Charles arrives in Northern Ireland, where he will receive another condolences at Hillsborough Castle and attend mass at Belfast’s St Anne’s Cathedral.
This day there will also be a rehearsal of Operation Lion, the procession of the coffin from Buckingham Palace to Westminster.
D+5 – D+9
The procession with the coffin from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster, ending with a mass upon arrival, will take place on D+5.
During the following three days, the coffin will be in the Palace of Westminster, which will remain open to the public 23 hours a day in what has been called ‘Operation Feather’.
On D+7, King Charles will travel to Wales to receive another condolences in Parliament and attend a mass at Cardiff Cathedral.
D+10, the funeral
The funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey and two minutes of silence will be observed across the country at noon. The queen will ultimately be buried in King George VI’s chapel at Windsor Castle.
Funeral preparations will be very complex, says Political. The Ministry of Transport has warned in the past that problems can be generated in the transport network due to the number of people who may want to travel to London.
One of the documents warns of a worst-case scenario, in which London could literally “fill up” for the first time and health, police, restaurants, accommodation and transport could be overwhelmed.