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What happens after the queen dies? Behind Operation London Bridge and Operation Unicorn

By SAAB LARIOSA Published Sep 09, 2022 4:35 pm

Queen Elizabeth II has passed away at the age of 96. With her reign spanning over 70 years, numerous leaders, and countless changes in the world, her loss undeniably means a great absence to the United Kingdom and beyond.

The Queen has dealt with some health scares throughout her long life, causing Britain to come up with Operation London Bridge, a meticulous action plan for when the Queen eventually passes away.

Operation London Bridge was first revealed to the public in 2017 by The Guardian when the Queen was 89 years old. Now, the plan is coming into motion, with her eldest son, Charles III, being sworn as Britain's 42nd monarch as the first step.

Here’s what else we can expect from the 10-day mourning period after the monarch's death.

  • From the moment she dies, Elizabeth II's eldest son and heir, Charles, will immediately take on the throne. Per tradition, Charles' hands will be kissed by his siblings. 
  • Sir Christopher Geidt, the Queen’s private secretary, will then inform the Prime Minister of the name of the Operation name to prevent the news from leaking before it is ready. Civil servants will also say "London Bridge is down" on secure lines to pass on the news.
  • The Press Association will recieve word along with world media. For the Queen's case, the Royal Family also shared the news via social media.

  • Radio alert transmission systems, news organizations, and radio stations will go off around the world to confirm the news.
  • The procession of the coffin from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster will take place, followed by a service in Westminster Hall.

  • The queen's body will lie in Westminster Hall and her state funeral will be at Westminster Abbey.
  • On the day of her funeral, a Day of National Mourning will be proclaimed with two minutes of silence followed by the country.
  • Her body will be buried in the King George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle beside her husband, Prince Phillip.
What if Operation London Bridge isn't followed?

In its place, a contingency called Operation Unicorn was followed instead of Operation London Bridge. The only difference is the unprecedented situation wherein the Queen dies in her Scotland home instead of Windsor Castle.

Her body will then by flown to London and all other steps are followed.