Operation London Bridge: The 27 secret things that will happen when tragedy hits the monarchy

It is a thought that doesn’t bare thinking about – if something happened to the Queen.

The longest reign in Britain’s history, Queen Elizabeth II has held the throne for almost seven decades,

The palace revealed the Queen had been hospitalized Wednesday evening (October 20), prompting the question of what will happen when tragedy hits the monarchy and she does pass away.

Read more: Queen spends night in hospital for ‘preliminary investigations’

Whether you consider yourself a ‘Royalist’ or not, the death of the monarch will have a huge impact on all of our lives.

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The government is constantly prepared for news of tragedy within the monarchy.

In fact, civil servants have drawn up an exact plan dictating what will happen when the Queen dies, called Operation London Bridge, reports MyLondon.

These are the 27 most important things that will happen when Operation London Bridge kicks into action, as revealed by a Guardian investigation.

1. The Prime Minister will be contacted

The Prime Minister will be the first to be notified
The Prime Minister will be the first to be notified

The Queen’s private secretary will be the first official to deal with news of her death. It will be their job to contact whoever is PM at the time.

2. ‘London Bridge is down’

The news will ripple out quietly and secretly with civil servants saying “London Bridge is down” in secure messages and telephone conversations.

Previous code names for other royal deaths include “Hyde Park Corner” for George VI and “Tay Bridge” for both the Queen Mother’s and Princess Diana’s funeral plans.

3. The news will go international from an ‘undisclosed location’ in London

The news will be distributed by the Foreign Office’s Global Response Centre, which is based at an ‘undisclosed location’ in London.

The centre will inform the 15 governments outside the UK where the Queen is also the head of state, and the 36 other nations of the Commonwealth for whom she has served as a symbolic figurehead.

4. Newsflash

With governments made aware, next will be the world’s press.

The announcement of Queen Elizabeth’s death will go out simultaneously in a newsflash to the Press Association and other global media outlets.

5. Black armbands will be put on

Officials will delve into cupboards which are often not disturbed.

Black armbands measuring three-and-a-quarter inches wide will be worn on the left arm.

6. Black-edged notice on Buckingham Palace gates

A black-edged notice will be hung on the gates of Buckingham Palace
A black-edged notice will be hung on the gates of Buckingham Palace

A footman in mourning clothes will pin a black edged notice to the gates of Buckingham Palace.

7. Buckingham Palace website will go into mourning mode

At the same time as public notices go up outside, the palace website will be toned down so it becomes one single, respectful page, with text on a dark background.

8. The BBC will start using a special system

RATS stands for “radio alert transmission system” – it’s something most staff at the BBC have only ever apparently seen in tests.

It started life in the 1930s and was designed to withstand an attack on the country.

Never usually used, nothing else will be trusted to spread the word about the Queen’s death.

9. Scramble for news coverage

“Mrs Robinson” has apparently been a code name for the death of the Queen at ITV and Sky for years.

Newspapers like the Guardian and The Times have stories pinned to the wall at offices in Kings Cross and London Bridge, ready to be rolled out when the momentous announcement is made.

Huge deals have already been signed by broadcasters, apparently, securing royal experts on an exclusive basis for the days leading up to the funeral.

10. Blue ‘obit lights’ for commercial radio will come into use

Radio stations won't be able to play upbeat songs
Radio stations won’t be able to play upbeat songs

The first sign something is wrong might be a sad song coming on the radio.

Behind the scenes at your favourite radio station, a system of blue lights should have started flashing.

The ‘obit lights’ are tested once a week and alert the DJ to cut to the news at the soonest possible opportunity.

Even hospital radio stations have appropriate playlists prepared.

11. Black ties on the TV news

Scheduled programmes will stop on your TV – BBC One, Two and Four will merge, fading into the news.

The national anthem will play in the background, news readers will appear dressed in black suits and black ties.

A royal standard will be displayed on screen.

12. People will go home from work early

The Queen’s death is likely to mean many people will go home from work early.

It’s will depend on when in the day the news is announced and what you do for a living.

But a mood of national mourning may demand that many businesses and workplaces shut down.

14. Pilots will tell passengers

Pilots will inform passengers
Pilots will inform passengers

If you’re on the tarmac at Heathrow Airport or Gatwick, the news may well be broken to you by the pilot of your aircraft.

On the day of the announcement, there will be a sense of sombre urgency.

15. If the Queen is abroad a coffin will be flown out to her

What if the Queen is on a foreign visit when she passes?

A BAe 146 jet from the RAF’s No 32 squadron, known as the Royal Flight, will take off from Northolt, at the western edge of London, with a coffin on board.

The royal undertakers, Leverton & Sons, keep what they call a “first call coffin” ready in case of royal emergencies.

16. Body will return to Buckingham Palace throne room

No matter when or where the Queen’s death takes place, her body will be taken back to the throne room at Buckingham Palace.

There will be an altar, royal standard and four Grenadier Guards in bearskin hats, which will of course be inclined out of respect.

17. Prince Charles will become King

Prince Charles will become King
Prince Charles will become King

At some point Prince Charles will become aware he is King.

His siblings will ceremoniously kiss his hands.

Charles will have a great say over some aspects of the days following his mother’s death.

Other parts of the procedures will be set in stone after years of planning.

It will be on so-called ‘D+1’ – the day after the death – that Charles will be officially proclaimed King.

He will speak his first words as the monarch at St. James’s Palace.

18. News crews will assemble in pre-agreed spots

Fibre-optic cables run under the Mall, allowing broadcasters to do their thing on special occasions like Royal Weddings.

After the Queen’s death though, the level of interest will be even bigger than usual.

Specific spots next to Canada Gate, at the bottom of Green Park, have already been agreed by BBC, ITV, Sky and others.

19. Announcement at London’s mid-point

With Charles already sworn in behind the scenes, the Garter King of Arms and half a dozen other heralds will hop in a carriage and travel to the statue of Charles I, at the base of Trafalgar Square, which marks London’s official midpoint, and read out the news again.

20. Hyde Park gun salute

A 41-gun salute – almost seven minutes of artillery – will be fired from Hyde Park.

21. More trumpets in the City of London

A red cord will be strung across the road outside the Royal Courts of Justice, at the old boundary of the City of London.

The City Marshal will be waiting on a horse.

The heralds will be formally allowed into the City, before going onto use more trumpets and more announcements: at the Royal Exchange and then in a chain reaction across the whole country.

22. Queen’s coffin will be moved to Westminster Hall

The Queen's coffin will be moved to Westminster Hall
The Queen’s coffin will be moved to Westminster Hall

D+4 – the fourth day after the Queen’s passing – will see her coffin moved to Westminster Hall to lie in state for four days.

A grand military parade will see the coffin transported down the Mall, through Horse Guards, and past the Cenotaph.

23. The wreaths on the coffin will be renewed each day

The freshest, most impressive floral wreaths will be renewed on the Queen’s coffin each day.

24. Jewels cleaned on day of funeral

The funeral will be on ‘D+9’. On the morning of the ceremony, which will take place at Westminster Abbey, the crown jewels will be meticulously cleaned.

25. Shops will close

A day off will be in store for most on the day of Her Majesty’s funeral. Shops will close, or open for reduced hours.

The stock market will also not open for the day.

26. Church services and memorial gatherings in football stadiums

Church services will be held the night before the funeral
Church services will be held the night before the funeral

The night before the funeral, church services will be held.

It’s thought that in larger towns and cities, there will be demand for memorial services in football stadiums and other big venues.

27. Big Ben to strike at 9am on the day of the funeral

One of the most memorable and poignant moments of Operation London Bridge will probably be when Big Ben strikes at 9am on the day of the funeral.

Its hammer will be covered with a leather pad seven-sixteenths of an inch thick, and it will ring out in muffled tones.

At 11am the coffin will arrive at the doors of Westminster Abbey and the nation will fall silent.

Article Source: Kent Live