Planned and surprising events in Queen Elizabeth's farewell (Operation London Bridge)

Saying goodbye to the Queen
Operation London Bridge
London 'full'
Crowd control
A call cascade
A pre-written message
Making the public aware
The lowering of the flag
Social media policy
A sign of the times
Gun salutes
D-Day
King Charles
A new King
No Parliament
11th September: Edinburgh
12th September: King Charles starts his tour
It began in London and Edinburgh
Procession with an incident
13th September: the Queen goes to London
Lie in state for four days
Friday 16th September: Wales
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Monday 19th September
Funeral ceremony in St. George's Chapel
Saying goodbye to the Queen

On September 8, Queen Elizabeth II passed away at the age of 96. As Britain mourns the death of a remarkable monarch, a sequence of activities has been underway for her official goodbye and the mourning period in the UK. What are the daily plans and have they gone as scheduled?

Operation London Bridge

Called 'Operation London Bridge', some details of an elaborate plan were leaked in 2017, outlining the main events that would occur after the Queen passed away.

London 'full'

An extensive security operation was put in place to control the expected vast crowds flooding into the capital city. Flocks of the public swarmed into the centre to leave flowers and pay their respects. The commotion and travel chaos was met with previously planned maneuvers of all arms of the British state.

Crowd control

We could see this on Thursday, Sept. 8: before the queen's death was announced, police were already putting up fences at various locations in London.

A call cascade

According to the plan, Operation London Bridge began with a call cascade, where the prime minister, the cabinet secretary and a number of the most senior ministers and officials were informed by The Queen's private secretary.

A pre-written message

Liz Truss has only just become prime minister and she already has to manage this monumental change right away. According to "Operation London Bridge" documents, officials were instructed on the best way to relay the news. POLITICO quoted the message they would receive, "Dear colleagues, it is with sadness that I write to inform you of the death of Her Majesty The Queen."

Making the public aware

Only after the top officials were told, the news was shared with the public. Therefore, it took some time before the news of Elizabeth's death reached the world. The royal household themselves delivered the 'official notification'.

The lowering of the flag

There was some worry that, should the flag not be lowered within ten minutes of the world receiving the shocking news, there would be public outrage. In fact, the previous worry was that there would be no official 'flag officer', but it seems Downing Street have since rectified this issue and Britain was prepared to lower the flag quickly when the news arrived.

Social media policy

Much of Operation London Bridge deals with social media. According to POLITICO, the outlined plan regarding social media was as follows: "The royal family’s website will change to a black holding page with a short statement confirming the queen’s death."

Photo: The Royal Family / Instagram

A sign of the times

The plan was adjusted a bit, probably as a sign of the times. In recent days, the image of the site is a more colourful celebration of her incredible life.

Photo: royal.uk

Gun salutes

Several gun salutes were held. Guns were fired in Hyde Park, at the Tower of London, and in Gibraltar, as well as in other locations. The HMS Queen Elizabeth fired a 96-round salute.

D-Day

The day of Queen Elizabeth's passing is referred to internally as 'D-Day', with every day afterward, leading up to the funeral, as 'D-Day+1, D-Day+2 etc'.

King Charles

The end of D-Day saw the new King, Charles, make a statement to the public.

A new King

The government met just a day and a half after The Queen's death to proclaim Charles the new sovereign. Hundreds attended and all were instructed on their attire - dark colours and no decoration. The proclamation was read at St James' Palace and King Charles officially became the new monarch.

No Parliament

Sessions of the House of Commons and House of Lords were postponed for 10 days after the Queen's death. The House of Commons reopens on Sept. 21. On Sept. 9, it did hold a special session, until 10 p.m., in which MPs paid tribute to the late Queen.

11th September: Edinburgh

As The Queen passed away at her home in Balmoral, her journey began to bring the coffin back down to London. The first leg of the journey was made nearly three days after her death. The Coffin of Her Late Majesty departed from Balmoral Castle for the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. On arrival, there was a 21-gun salute from Edinburgh Castle.

12th September: King Charles starts his tour

The new King Charles embarked on a tour of the United Kingdom. The King started in London on Monday morning to receive condolences and then flew to Edinburgh to join his siblings, Princess Anne, Andrew, and Edward. There was also to be a solemn procession to the city's historic St. Giles cathedral.

It began in London and Edinburgh

King Charles III had an audience with Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Alongside the Queen Consort, Camilla, they then received condolences from Scottish Parliament.

Procession with an incident

During the procession, something happened that was not foreseen in any of the plans of Operation London Bridge. In addition to some expected, isolated protests against the monarchy, there was also a loud critic along the side of the route shouting at Prince Andrew about his misbehavior in the Jeffrey Epstein case. The man was removed by police.

13th September: the Queen goes to London

As The King and Camilla visited Northern Ireland and attended prayer at Anne's Cathedral, the Queen's coffin was moved to London. Anne, Princess Royal, took the flight with Her Late Majesty and arrived in the evening at Buckingham Palace, around the same time as Charles and Camilla.

Lie in state for four days

The King and other members of the royal family walked in the procession taking the Queen from Buckingham Palace to Westminster. She was then to lie in state at the Palace of Westminster for four days. According to POLITICO, this part of the operation was codenamed FEATHER.

Friday 16th September: Wales

As The Queen continues to lie in state and hundreds of thousands are expected to come and pay their respects, King Charles and Camilla will head to Wales, visiting the last of the four nations as King.

A "Day of National Mourning"

A bank holiday has been given for the "Day of National Mourning" which has been announced on the government website. This day has been chosen as the same day as the Queen's funeral, Monday 19th September. According to the website, the government 'wants to help give as many people as possible the opportunity on the day of the State Funeral to mark Her Majesty’s passing and commemorate Her reign.'

Photo: Getty (decolourisation: Showbizz Daily)

Monday 19th September

The state funeral will, of course, be held at Westminster Abbey and after the service - at midday - there will be a two-minute silence across the nation.

 

Funeral ceremony in St. George's Chapel

The period of mourning is completed with processions in London and Windsor, while the Queen will be laid to rest in King George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle, next to the grave of her late husband, Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

(Pictured: Prince Philip's funeral ceremony on April 17, 2021)

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