Following the sad news that Queen Elizabeth II has passed away at the age of 96, people have been sharing their tributes online, while looking ahead to what might happen next.
Official documents drawn up by the cabinet office in 2021, and later obtained by Politico, refer to plans codenamed ‘Operation London Bridge’, which outline what to expect in the 10 days between Queen Elizabeth II’s death and her funeral.
On the day of Her Majesty’s death
Official documents suggest Prime Minister Liz Truss will have been one of the first people to be informed of the monarch’s passing, in a message delivered by the Queen’s Private Secretary. MPs and senior civil servants will then have received a call and email stating, “Dear colleagues, it is with sadness that I write to inform you of the death of Her Majesty The Queen.”
The news was then announced on official Royal social media platforms, before flags were moved to half-mast. The Ministry Of Defence will organise gun salutes, while a minute of silence will be held across the country.
The following day
After the monarch’s death, Charles is expected to officially be proclaimed as king at 10am the next day by the “accession council” (which includes senior government figures), though he’s technically been king since the moment Her Majesty passed. As for Charles’s coronation, The Guardian reports it could happen up to a year after Her Majesty’s death.
Charles will then meet Prime Minister Liz Truss to be briefed on key points the Queen was previously privy to, before addressing the nation at 6pm. It’s understood there will also be an immediate service of remembrance at St Paul’s Cathedral. After the proclamation confirms Charles as King, all other parliamentary business will be suspended for 10 days.
The Queen’s coffin will return to Buckingham Palace in London, reports say. As Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral in Scotland, official documents suggest “Operation UNICORN is activated, which means her body will be carried down to London by royal train if possible. If not, Operation OVERSTUDY will be triggered, meaning the coffin will be transferred by plane.” The Prime Minister and other government officials will welcome the coffin.
Three days after
King Charles will likely on a tour of the United Kingdom, starting with a visit to the Scottish parliament before heading to a service at St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.
Four days after
King Charles will go to Northern Ireland to receive another motion of condolence at Hillsborough Castle, before attending a service at St. Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast. A rehearsal for Operation LION, the procession of the coffin from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster, is also thought to take place.
Five days after
The procession of Her Majesty’s coffin from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster will take place along a ceremonial route through central London. There will be a service at Westminster Hall.
Six to nine days after
Operation London Bridge documents suggest Operation FEATHER will now be in place, when the Queen will lie in state at the Palace of Westminster for three days. Her Majesty’s coffin will be placed on a raised box known as a catafalque in the middle of Westminster Hall, which will be open to the public to visit with tickets for 23 hours per day.
Six days after Her Majesty’s death, a rehearsal will likely take place for the state funeral and procession, while seven days after, King Charles is expected to travel to Wales to receive a third motion of condolence at the Welsh parliament. King Charles will also attend a service at Liandaff Cathedral in Cardiff.
10 days after
Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey, while processions will take place in London and Windsor and a committal service will take place in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The Queen will be buries in the castle’s King George VI Memorial Chapel. There will be a national two minutes’ silence at midday.
The Prime Minister and the Queen previously agreed that the day of the state funeral will be a “Day of National Mourning” - effectively a Bank Holiday, though official documents seem to suggest if the funeral falls on the weekend or an existing bank holiday, an extra bank holiday will not be granted.
If the funeral falls on a weekday, the government does not plan to order employers to give employees the day off — the documents say that is a matter between employees and their staff.
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