This is the strict and millimetric protocol to be followed after the death of the sovereign, an operation called “London Bridge”
As soon as the phone of the newly inaugurated British Prime Minister Liz Truss rang on Thursday afternoon and the words “London Bridge has fallen” were uttered, the so-called “Operation London Bridge” began. This is the name given to the complex protocol that was put in place after the sad news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II of England. This September 8 was called “D-Day”, that is, the day of the death of the sovereign monarch. That’s when a cascade of calls and emails to officials and ministers of relevance began. “Dear colleagues, it is with sadness that I write to inform you of the death of Her Majesty the Queen,” the cabinet secretary wrote to ministers, as Whitehall flags were lowered to half-mast in mourning.
British citizens learned the news through an “official notification” issued by the Royal Household, at which point the British Parliament, as well as the autonomous chambers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland ceased their activity to later give way to a national minute of silence. The Ministry of Defense fired salvos from various locations. But the protocol following the Queen’s death covers a total of ten days after “D-Day” detailing step by step how to proceed in the coming days.
Day D+1. As described in such a millimetric Operation, today we are facing the “D+1 Day”, a key day for Prince Charles who will be proclaimed king after 10:00 (local time) following the meeting of the Accession Council. The proclamation will be read at St. James’s Palace and the Royal Exchange. In addition, Parliament will meet to agree on a message of condolence and for MPs to pay tribute in the House of Commons, as all parliamentary business will be suspended for the ten-day protocol. Subsequently, at 3:30 p.m., the prime minister and cabinet will meet with the new king.
D+2 Day. On Saturday, “Day D+2”, the “Operation Unicorn” will be activated, which will transfer the body of the sovereign monarch by train from Balmoral to London, if possible. If this option is not feasible, “Operation Overstudy” will be activated, which will take the coffin by plane to Buckingham Palace.
Day D+3. On the third day of “Operation London Bridge”, the newly appointed King will receive the condolence motion at Westminster Hall and will then embark on a mourning tour of the United Kingdom, starting in Scotland. After being received at the Scottish Parliament, he will attend a service at St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.
Day D+4. King Charles will arrive in Northern Ireland on “D+4 Day,” where he will receive another motion of condolence at Hillsborough Castle and attend a service at St. Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast. A rehearsal for “Operation Lion” will be held on the same day.
Day D+5. The Queen’s coffin will be moved from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster via a ceremonial route through London, ending with a memorial service at Westminster Hall, which will be held next Tuesday “Day D+5.”
D+6 Day. The “Operation Feather” will be activated this Wednesday and it is contemplated that the coffin of Elizabeth II will rest in the Palace of Westminster for three days. It will be placed on a catafalque that will be open to the public for 23 hours and there will be shifts to access. In addition, a rehearsal will be held on the same day for the state funeral procession, which will be held on the tenth day.
Day D+7. Monarch Charles will travel to Wales to receive a motion of Parliament and attend a service at Liandaff Cathedral in Cardiff.
Day D+8 and 9. The following days, the coffin will rest at State, where hundreds of thousands of people are expected to flock to London to visit and pay their respects. Condolence books will be opened online.
D+10 Day. The National Day of Mourning will be proclaimed on the last and tenth day, which coincides with Sunday, September 18, the day on which the state funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey. Before, there will be two minutes of silence throughout the country and two marchs will take place, one in London and the other in Windsor. Elizabeth II will be buried at Windsor Castle, in the King George VI Memorial Chapel, next to her father. After the funeral, all the flowers placed in the royal palaces, public town halls and their surroundings will be removed. The official mourning will last one month, period in which all the town halls of the country must hang a black ribbon next to the portrait of the late queen before being moved to a “suitable place” and exchanged for a portrait of the new king, Charles of England.