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Breaking Down What Is “Operation London Bridge”

operation london bridge
Picture: Frank Augstein and Visit London

Queen Elizabeth II sadly passed away at age of 96 on September 8. When she died, the four simple words would be communicated, “London Bridge is down”.

“From the moment the queen became monarch, Whitehall started the planning process about what would happen when she died,” said Philip Murphy, a professor of British and Commonwealth history at the University of London.

operation london bridge

Picture: Visit London

Operation London Bridge is a sealed strategy that has been long in place. It will be implemented once Queen Elizabeth II passes away.

The phrase “London Bridge is down” will be used to communicate the Queen’s death to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and key staff, setting out the plan.

The bodies involved in preparing the plan include various government departments, the Church of England, the Metropolitan Police Service, the British Armed Forces, the media, the Royal Parks, London boroughs, the Greater London Authority and Transport for London.

So, what happens when the Queen dies? Here are the plans during the death of the Queen:

How does it start?

A phone call is made. The Queen’s private secretary, Sir Edward Young calls the Prime Minister and mentions “London Bridge is down”.

What happens next?

The death news is shared with the governments where the Queen is the head of state. The states are Australia, New Zealand, Canada, St. Vincent, the Grenadines, St. Lucia, the Caribbean islands of Jamaica, Belize, the Bahamas, Grenada, Barbuda, and Antigua.

Then only the governments share the news with the other  36 Commonwealth countries. Also, the gates of Buckingham Place are put with ‘black notice’ regarding this news.

The National Emergencies

At the same time, the mass media notify the world. All media channels prepare to face the “national emergencies”. BBC pauses its broadcast to focus on the issue. The news anchor of BBC wears a black suit and the logo changes into black color. Newspapers, television, and radio prepare to do the coverage for the following days.

The shifting of power

On the same day as the death of the Queen, Prince Charles unofficially becomes king. Flags are lowered to half-mast. In addition to that, all stock, businesses, and shops in the United Kingdom will be closed in order to mourn.

When does the funeral take place?

After four days of Queen Elizabeth’s death, there will be a procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall. The Queen will be laid to rest for four days before being buried nine days later. There will be 2,000 invited guests present in person, mainly leaders of the state. Also, the funeral will be broadcast worldwide.

Then, the Queen is believed to be buried next to her late husband, Prince Phillip, and her father, King George VI.

Sources: Fortune, News Week, NY Times, Time

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