Queen Elizabeth II is the longest serving monarch in British history, but at 92 years of age, contingency plans have already been made in the event that she passes away. We’ve compiled eight things that will happen after the Queen’s death, and some of them may surprise you.
Operation “London Bridge” will go into effect
Since Elizabeth has been Queen since 1952, most people have never experienced the death of a monarch in Britain. There are intricate plans in place to ensure that her death is handled gracefully, respectfully, and full of the tradition, pomp, and ceremony the Queen wants and deserves. These plans are known as Operation London Bridge.
Code Words will be used
When the Queen passes, her private secretary will call the Prime Minister, who is currently Theresa May, and tell her “London Bridge is down.” Then, Britain’s Foreign Office will call the 15 governments where the Queen is head of state and the 36 nations in the Commonwealth to tell them that she has died.
The bells will toll
When the news is out, flags will fly at half-mast and bells all over London will toll. Westminster Abbey’s tenor bell, which is rung on royal deaths, will toll as well, and Westminster’s bells will be muffled. People will gather outside Buckingham Palace as the United Kingdom begins a ten day period of mourning.
Parliament will convene
Parliament will convene to swear allegiance to the new monarch, who would currently be Prince Charles, in order to ensure a smooth transition in the monarchy.
Charles will take the throne
“There are really two things happening,” said one of Charles’ advisors. “There is the demise of a sovereign and then there is the making of a king.”
Prince Charles will give a speech on the night of the Queen’s death. He will be proclaimed King at 11am the next day, and during the ceremony, he will swear an oath called the accession declaration. Afterwards, heralds will read a proclamation throughout the city, trumpets will sound, the flag will be raised back up, and cannons will fire a royal salute. The actual coronation will then happen months later.
King Charles will tour the home nations
Charles will get to work immediately after he is declared King. He will quickly head out on a tour of the “home countries” of the British Isles, England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, to meet with leaders and attend various services and events.
“From day one, it is about the people rather than just the leaders being part of this new monarchy,” one of his advisers said. “Lots of not being in a car, but actually walking around.”
The Queen will lie in state
After Charles returns to London from his tour, Queen Elizabeth’s coffin will be brought to Westminster Hall in a slow procession from Buckingham Palace. Once the coffin is at Westminster, the public will be allowed to visit and pay their respects to the Queen over the next few days.
We will all be able to watch the funeral
The funeral of the Queen will probably be a national holiday in the United Kingdom. The service will take place at Westminster Abbey, and while it will be televised, cameras will not be showing the grieving faces of the royals. Afterwards, a hearse will bring Queen Elizabeth to Windsor Castle, where she will be buried alongside her parents (their Majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth) and sister (HRH The Princess Margaret) in the King George VI Memorial Chapel.
We hope and pray that the Queen has many years of good health left, and that these plans are not put into action for many years to come!