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31 Jan, 2023
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Queen Elizabeth II Death: A Well-Rehearsed ‘Operation London Bridge’ Activated!

‘Hyde Park Corner’ – this was the code word that was used to convey the demise of George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth II. Well, did you notice that BBC broadcasters were wearing black before the news actually dropped? As soon as The Royal Family of the United Kingdom announced Queen Elizabeth II’s death, all websites affiliated with the Monarch were switched over to mourning mode. Was it all planned? Well, it was! One can say that Britain was fully prepared for Queen Elizabeth II’s death, so much so that ‘Operation London Bridge’ was approved by Queen Elizabeth II herself.

London Bridge Is Down – Elizabeth II Dies, Aged 96 

On September 8 2022, the longest-reigning Monarch in world history breathed her last at the Balmoral Castle. On Thursday, it was revealed by Buckingham Palace that Queen Elizabeth II has been kept under medical supervision as per her doctor’s advice. During the Queen’s last moments, her son Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Prince Andrew and Prince Charles’ son Prince William were present. Prince Harry was on his way to bid the last goodbye to his grandmother. As per reports, both the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton and Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, were not present at Balmoral Castle at the time of the Queen’s demise.

What and how everything will take place after Queen Elizabeth II’s death has been planned and practiced for decades. Various government departments of the UK have memorised the entire procedure to its finest details. A funeral plan is set for every Royal Family member, including Prince Charles III, who is now the King.

“The London Bridge is Down” was probably the words that were used to inform the newly-elected Prime Minister of the UK, Liz Truss, by Queen Elizabeth II’s private secretary. The plan was believed to have been made in the 1960s and have been changed and rehearsed many times before her death this year.

While the funeral plan of the Queen was codenamed ‘Operation London Bridge’, there were special provisions if the Queen dies in Scotland, which has taken place. The Queen died in Balmoral Castle in Scotland and hence, it is actually Operation Unicorn that is set to be followed. However, Operation Unicorn can be called a special part of Operation London Bridge.

The elaborated London Bridge plan’s specifics are yet to be released. However, what we know so far is that Operation London Bridge contains plans for services and succession. The Operation sheds light on what the 10 days would be like between Queen Elizabeth’s death and her funeral. Since Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8 2022, it will be called as D-day. Now each following day leading up to the funeral would be referred to as D+1, D+2, D+3 and so on.

Gun Salutes and Title Changes

After the Prime Minister has been informed of the Queen’s death. One of the first things is the meeting of the Accession Council that will take place at 500-year-old St James Palace in London. It would be done in two parts. This closed meeting will be attended by hundreds of dignitaries and members of the Privy Council. Also, the British Parliament’s business will be suspended for 10 days after relaying a condolence message for Queen Elizabeth II.

The official proclamation from the Palace balcony and the gun salutes across the capital would take place a day after the Queen’s death. Currently, arrangements are underway to transport Queen Elizabeth II back to England as she died in her residence in Scotland. Now, as the ‘London Bridge is Down’, it automatically makes Prince Charles the King, and he is expected to assume the title of King Charles III.

On D+5, a ceremonial procession will take place in London, and Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin will be taken from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster. A service will then take place at Westminster Hall. All the past Monarchs of the Royal Family have been lain in state in Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster. The Westminster Palace also houses the UK Parliament.

Usually, only British Royal Family members who hold high military ranks or consort of the Sovereign and heir to the Throne are granted ceremonial royal funeral rights. Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband and the longest-serving British consort, was given a royal ceremonial funeral at St George’s Chapel in Windsor. All other members of the Royal Family, their spouses, and their children are granted a private royal ceremony.

From D+6 to D+9, the Queen will lie in state at Westminster Hall, and common people would be allowed to pay their respects as per Operation London Bridge.

The Union Flag will be lowered on all public buildings in the United Kingdom. However, the Royal Standard Monarch’s personal flag will not be lowered because the Monarch never dies.

Prince Charles Now King Charles III

The actual ceremony that everyone is looking forward to is the centuries-old ritual of Britain by which the Prince/Princess of the Royal Family is made the King/Queen. The last time such ceremony took place was on June 2, 1953, when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned at the age of 25. Now, the next in line is Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest child, Prince Charles.

Prince Charles will be the longest-waiting heir apparent who will be crowned at the age of 73 and who has been prepared his entire life to become the King. If Prince Charles is officially proclaimed King Charles III, it will make him the oldest Monarch of all time to take over the Throne.

As per law, Prince Charles has automatically become King, which means he is now head of state not only in the UK but in 14 other Commonwealth realms, including Australia and Canada. He has also become the head of the British Armed Forces, the Civil Service, the Judiciary and the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. All honours will now be given in his name as he has become the Fount of Honour with the passing away of the Queen.

Will Camilla Shand, Wife of Prince Charles Become The Queen?

Camilla Shand married Prince Charles in 2005. There was widespread public resentment against Camilla becoming Queen due to the controversial death of Princess Diana and her failed marriage to the Prince of Wales. Clearing the air once and for all, Queen Elizabeth II in 2022 said that Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, would take the title ‘Queen Consort’ when Prince Charles becomes King. A consort is someone who provides companionship to the Monarch in both moral and practical sense, as per the Royal Family website.

Can Prince William Become The King?

There has been a long debate about who will take the Throne after Queen Elizabeth. Will it be Prince Charles, who is already 70+, or will it be the next-in-line Prince William? Well, past rumours have suggested that Prince Charles may not have any aspirations of becoming the King and clear the path for his son, Prince William, to take over as British Monarch.

There is no law that can make Prince William the next King unless Prince Charles decides to abdicate. However, as things look like right now, it is unlikely that Prince Charles will step aside from the duties of a King and let his son have the powers.

In 2018, Queen Elizabeth II also expressed her desire for Prince Charles to become the next King and made a rare public move of siding with Charles. However, even if Queen Elizabeth II wanted Prince William to take charge as the King, she did not have the power to do so. Though the Queen held a significant position in the country, she cannot officially change the law by herself.

No official details have been released yet, but it is anticipated that Her Majesty will be given a full state funeral. King Charles III will sign off the final plans in the coming days.

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