Queen dies: When is her funeral?

Watch: Queen dies aged 96: Flowers laid outside Windsor Castle

The Queen has died aged 96 at her Scottish residence, Balmoral Castle, and as a nation mourns, carefully laid plans to mark her death are already underway.

The preparations known as ‘Operation London Bridge’ have been updated for many years, but because he died in Scotland a second plan called ‘Operation Unicorn’ was also activated.

The code phrase, “London Bridge is down”, will have been used to notify Prime Minister Liz Truss, as well as key officials, that Her Majesty has died.

Read more: Leaked Operation London Bridge document reveals how public will be informed when Queen dies

People gather outside Buckingham Palace after the announcement of Queen Elizabeth II’s death. (PA)

That sentence has set in motion the action plan surrounding her death, including a period of official mourning and the details of her state funeral.

Details of the plan were published by The Guardian in 2017 and by the Politico website in 2021.

While full details have yet to be officially confirmed by Buckingham Palace, here’s what is known about how the next few days could play out.

“London Bridge” and “Unicorn”

The plans were originally created in the 1960s and involved a number of government departments, including the Church of England, the Metropolitan Police, the British Armed Forces, the media, the Royal Parks and Transport for London.

Royal funerals are organized by the Earl Marshall and officers at the College of Heralds. Code names for the death of a royal are nothing new.

The death of the Queen’s father, King George VI, in 1952 operated under the code-phrase, “Hyde Park Corner”. The plans for the death of the Queen Mother in 2002 were called ‘Operation Tay Bridge’, while ‘Operation Forth Bridge’ referred to the death of the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who died in 2021. ‘Operation Menai Bridge’ refers to the funeral plan for her son, Charles.

The moments after the death of the queen

As part of Operation London Bridge, the first official – apart from the Queen’s family and medical team – to break the news of her death would be her private secretary.

Their first action was to tell the Prime Minister, who received the news via a secure phone line from civil servants using the code phrase “London Bridge is down”.

The Queen’s Private Secretary was also responsible for briefing the Cabinet Secretary and the Privy Council Office.

Government ministers and senior civil servants were briefed by the Cabinet Secretary and the Foreign Office told the 14 Commonwealth countries where the Queen was head of state.

Today is referred to internally by those who organize it as ‘D-Day’.

The reaction of the media

Government websites and social media accounts have already been blacked out to mark the Queen’s death and no non-urgent content will be published there.

The BBC and news agency PA Media learned of the Queen’s death through the Radio Alert Broadcasting System (RATS).

Images of Queen Elizabeth II appear in lights at London's Piccadilly Circus to mark her Platinum Jubilee.  Photo date: Sunday, February 6, 2022.

Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Platinum Jubilee in 2022. (PA)

Commercial radio stations were alerted by Independent Radio News via a network of blue ‘obit lights’, which let DJs know to prepare soothing and objectionable music while waiting for a news flash.

BBC Two suspended its scheduled broadcast and switched to BBC One’s broadcast of the announcement of the Queen’s death.

A pre-recorded portrait sequence of the Queen broadcast on BBC News allowed the presenters to change into black clothes to be ready for the official announcement.

The political reaction

A royal footman has nailed a dark-edged notice to the gates of Buckingham Palace, and this notice also appears on the palace’s website.

Prime Minister Liz Truss addressed the nation outside Downing Street just under an hour after the Queen’s death was announced.

He said: “It is an extraordinary achievement to preside with such dignity and grace for 70 years. Her life of service exceeded most of our living memories.

“In return, she was loved and admired by people in the UK and around the world.”

He added: “Today the crown passes, as it has for over 1,000 years, to our new monarch, our new head of state, His Majesty King Charles III.”

The king will host a meeting with the prime minister and then deliver a speech as soon as possible.

Flags fly at half-mast in Whitehall and government buildings. A memorial service, attended by the prime minister and senior government ministers, will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral in London as soon as possible.

The new monarch

Tomorrow, as part of Operation London Bridge, the Accession Council will meet at St James’s Palace to declare the new monarch, King Charles.

The plan to join Charles has its own code name, ‘Operation Spring Tide’.

The Privy Council must meet within 24 hours of the Queen’s death and will declare Charles king in the first part of the meeting. He may or may not be there for this part, but his presence is required for the second part, in which the new monarch reads a declaration and takes an oath, assuming the duties and responsibilities of sovereign.

Before her death, the Queen said she wanted Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, to be known as Queen Consort when Charles became King.

The Prince of Wales meets members of the Ukrainian community during a visit with the Duchess of Cornwall to the Ukrainian community at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in London.  Photo date: Wednesday, March 2, 2022.

The new monarch, King Charles. (PA)

A special session of Parliament will be held as soon as possible where MPs will swear allegiance to the King, after which most parliamentary activities will be suspended for a period of time.

The King will host the Prime Minister and Cabinet in audience as soon as possible.

Once this is done, a new monarch will be made from the administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Charles is expected to tour the UK in the coming days visiting Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Queen’s Last Voyage

Because the Queen died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, the plan under Operation Unicorn has been activated.

This means her coffin is expected to lie in state at Holyrood Palace, followed by a reception service likely to take place at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.

The Queen’s coffin will then be flown to the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace and finally flown to Westminster Hall and lie in state.

Buckingham Palace unveiled its priceless treasures for the first time on August 7 [Queen Elizabeth] opened her London home in a bid to raise funds for royal renovations.  Pictured is the Throne Room.  *** EDITORS NOTE: Only one publication

The Queen’s coffin will be placed in the throne room at Buckingham Palace. (Reuters)

In Westminster Hall, the Queen’s coffin will be placed on a raised platform, called a catafalque, and members of the public will remain to pay their respects.

It is expected that the hall will be open for 23 hours a day to cope with the numbers, with a short closure for cleaning each day.

The Princes’ Vigil is also expected to take place, in which the Queen’s children and grandchildren arrive unannounced to guard the coffin.

The funeral

The Queen’s state funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey as part of Operation London Bridge.

The service will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Read more: Because the code word for the Queen’s death is the name of a bridge in London

After the funeral, the Queen’s body will be buried in a prepared grave at the King George VI Memorial in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, alongside her husband Prince Philip, whose coffin will be carried from the Vault Royal.

File photo dated 17/04/21 of Queen Elizabeth II watches as the Duke of Edinburgh's coffin is placed in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, Berkshire during his funeral.  Issue date: Sunday, January 30, 2022.

The Queen watched as the coffin carrying her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was placed into St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in 2021. Her remains will be buried there. (PA)

The day of the Queen’s funeral will be a day of national mourning, but there will be no bank holiday.

Two minutes of silence will be observed across the UK at midday and there will be processions in London and Windsor.

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