Queen Elizabeth II took the throne in 1952 at the young age of 25. Today, at 93, she is the longest-reigning British monarch. During her 68 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II has become an iconic symbol of England, witnessing some of the most historical events in British history. Though it’s unpleasant to imagine a time when she is no longer Queen of England, her passing is inevitable. Due to her prominent position, plans need to be put into place to keep with royal tradition. We’ve laid out the order in which these events will unfold.
10. The Execution of Operation London Bridge
Operation London Bridge is the codename given to the series of events that will take place when this somber day occurs. The plan was constructed in the 1960s, with modifications being made several times a year. It involves governmental planning, media contacts, police services, and several other areas of business that need to be addressed. Some of the plans under Operation London Bridge are made by the Queen herself, while others can only be made by her successor.
9. Phone Calls Will be Made
Once the death of the Queen is confirmed by her personal doctor, the Queen’s private secretary will be notified of her passing. Once this happens, Operation London Bridge will commence with a phone call to the prime minister to convey the message, “London Bridge is down.” A series of phone calls will follow alerting authorities in the 15 governments where Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state and the 36 nations in the Commonwealth, where the Queen is a symbolic figurehead.
8. Word will Spread Around the World
Once political figures tied to the UK are notified of the Queen’s passing, the media outlets will be contacted with the news. Word will be spread through a combination of traditional methods coupled with modern technology. In keeping with British tradition, a footman dressed in mourning attire will post a framed notice on the gates of Buckingham Palace alerting the public the Queen had died. While this notice is being posted, the royal family’s official website will be updated with the news on its homepage. It’s crucial all communication is executed at the exact same time to ensure accurate information is being distributed to the public.
7. Bells will Ring and Flags will be Lowered
As news of the loss of Britain’s monarch spreads, British traditions to honor a passing monarch will begin to take place. Flags will be lowered to half-mast, and bells at London’s most well-known attractions will be tolled. The ringing of Westminster Abbey’s Tenor Bell will be heard as it has been for centuries to mark the passing of a royal family member. The bells will be muffled, signifying the somber occasion. The Great Tom, the bell of St. Paul’s Cathedral, will also be heard throughout London. Events and businesses will most likely be closed or canceled to honor the Queen’s memory. As the UK begins a 10-day mourning period, crowds will gather outside Buckingham Palace with flowers and gifts to express their condolences to the royal family.
6. Members of Parliament will Gather
There will be official business to take care of upon the Queen’s passing as she is officially the head of state. Upon notice of the Queen’s death, Prince Charles will become King. The British government will convene to swear allegiance to the new monarch and to ensure all members of Parliament will work together for a smooth transition.
5. In the Event the Queen Dies Outside of London
There is a certain protocol in place if the Queen passes while traveling outside London. The plan will vary based on location. If the Queen is traveling abroad during her time of death, a Royal Air Force plane will send a casket, and royal undertakers will be tasked with ensuring the body is returned to London.
If her death occurs in England but somewhere outside of London, her body will be transported via car back to Buckingham Palace to be placed in the Throne Room, where four Buckingham Palace guards will keep vigilance over her.
The most complicated scenario would occur if the Queen met her demise in Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where she spends her summers. If this is the case, Scottish ceremonial traditions will take place following her death. The body would be moved to Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, then carried through the city’s Royal Mile for services at St. Giles Cathedral. Following the service, her body will be placed on the Royal Train bound for London.
4. Prince Charles will Take the Throne
The process of Prince Charles taking over the throne is a combination of two events – the demise of a sovereign and the crowning of a new king. On the evening of the Queen’s death, Prince Charles will give a speech regarding the day’s sober event. The following day, at 11 am, Prince Charles will be proclaimed King and take an oath. Heralds will be heard reciting a proclamation all around the city. The sound of trumpets will be heard throughout London, and flags will once again be raised. There will be cannons fired signifying British pride in a royal salute. The following month will be a time of mourning the Queen’s passing and preparing for a ceremony to celebrate the coronation of the new king.
3. Prince Charles will Decide on a Name
When a new British monarch is due to take the throne, they are allowed to choose a new name. The name Prince Charles will choose will not be announced until it is time but there is much speculation surrounding his decision. He may choose George in honor of his grandfather or perhaps Philip after his father. The most likely choice will be to keep his name, making his official title King Charles III. Whatever choice he makes, Prince Charles will be the oldest monarch in history to take the throne.
2. The new King will Tour the Home Nations
Prince Charles will begin meeting with leaders of the home nations of the British Isles, England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland before Queen Elizabeth’s funeral. The plan is for Prince Charles to not only meet with the leaders but greet the people of the nations to incorporate everyone into the new monarchy.
Shortly after Prince Charles’ visit to the home nations, the Queen’s casket will leave Buckingham Palace to begin a procession to Westminster Hall, where the public will be allowed to pay their respects. It’s estimated 500-thousand people will visit to give their final farewells. Visitors will hear the muffled sounds of Big Ben as its hammer will be padded in a somber tribute to the late Queen.
After the public has paid their respects, the coffin will be moved to Westminster Abbey for televised funeral services. Following the service, the casket will be placed on a carriage pulled by Royal Navy sailors. There will be a procession through London before the coffin is placed in a hearse headed to Windsor Castle for the Queen final resting place. Queen Elizabeth II will most likely be laid to rest in the King George VI Memorial Chapel. She will join her parents and her sister Princess Margaret already laid to rest within the chapel.