Operation "London Bridge": what will happen when Queen Elizabeth II dies?

The death of Queen Elizabeth II is a real taboo in the United Kingdom. A deadline that the English do not prefer to think about and which they especially do not talk about. However, for some years now the monarchy and the English government have been largely prepared for it. If the protocol has been updated recently, it was thought up in the 1960s. And it even has a name: the “London Bridge” operation.

At 96 today, and although her public appearances are becoming increasingly rare, Queen Elizabeth II is still in the spotlight. She even holds the longevity record for a British sovereign: 70 years of reign… For now ! A platinum jubilee that the whole of the United Kingdom has just celebrated for four days of tributes, celebrations and parades of all kinds. An international event that ended this Saturday, June 04, 2022 with a grandiose concert, the Platinium Party at the Palace, which notably brought together Alicia Keys, Hans Zimmer and George Ezra. Proof, if one were needed, of the immense popularity of the British sovereign: his rating has never been so high in the polls. According to a recent survey by the YouGov institute, 75% of Britons like it. No wonder then that the subject of his death remains taboo. However, it is announced as the event with the most media coverage in the country’s history.

The “London Bridge” operation: rules and deadlines, everything is already fixed for the succession of the queen

It has already been a few years since the “London Bridge” operation was set up by the monarchy and the English government. Until then kept secret, it finally leaked last April, angering Buckingham Palace. Prepared since the 1960s, the funeral of Elisabeth of Windsor obeys very strict rules. It is the Queen’s private secretary who will be the first to know of the sad news. He will then be responsible for announcing it himself to the English Prime Minister (currently Boris Johnson) by dictating the following sentence to him: “London bridge is down”“London Bridge has collapsed” in French. A code name that will immediately make it clear to the head of government that the sovereign is deceased. The official protocol will thus be instantly put in place and the country will enter into a twelve-day period of national mourning.

A period during which his successor, his son Prince Charles, will not have time to get bored. And for good reason, he will make his first speech as king the very evening of the death of his mother and will be proclaimed king the next day, at 11 a.m. sharp. His coronation will only be carried out during the following months. During the fourth, fifth and sixth days following the death of his mother, he will also have to make a tour of the United Kingdom. He will then meet with official representatives responsible for presenting their condolences to him. The Queen’s official funeral will take place nine days after her death in Westminster Abbey. While awaiting his burial, his remains will be displayed at the Palace of Westminster two days after his death so that his subjects can come and pay their respects. The official ceremony has also been fully prepared and it is even rumored that a dress code has already been imposed. Elizabeth II will be buried at Windsor Castle, alongside her father, George VI and her husband, Prince Philip, who died aged 99 in April 2021.

A strict protocol even on social networks

On the press side, it is the Press Association which will have the first information and which will therefore be responsible for teaching it to all the other media in the world. A privilege for this English press agency founded in 1868 since it will be the end of an era. The death of Queen Elizabeth II ending the longest reign of a British sovereign. Her funeral will be the first for a British monarch since 1952.. All networks of the royal family and the government will also be adorned with a mandatory black banner and the official site will only display a black homepage.

Notable change: bells

Last May, the British newspaper Mail on Sunday said that a major change had taken place in this strict protocol, to say the least. Indeed, it was not initially planned but the bells of St. Paul’s Cathedral will ring differently than usual on the day of the Queen of England’s death. Information that has also confirmed the representative of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, in charge of operating the bells, in the columns of the newspaper. “The bells are going to have a more muffled (…) more solemn sound. They will make a noise that will sound like ‘Thud, thud, thud’, rather than the traditional ‘Dong, dong dong'”she said.

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