Operation London Bridge: What happens now the Queen has died?

9 September 2022, 06:38 | Updated: 9 September 2022, 11:22

What happens after the Queen dies?

By Sophie Barnett

Operation London Bridge has been triggered following the death of Queen Elizabeth II - what does it mean?

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Her Majesty The Queen died on Thursday, aged 96, Buckingham Palace confirmed.

It means Operation London Bridge - a carefully crafted plan that has been in place since the 1960s - kicks into action.

What is Operation London Bridge?

It's the codename for the detailed set of plans following the Queen's death. These include preparations for the announcement of the Queen's death, the period of official mourning, and the details of her state funeral.

It details everything from how news of the monarch’s death will be shared to the public to how quickly Prince Charles will ascend the throne.

D-Day/D+0 - Friday September 9

Thursday, the day of the Queen's death, would traditionally have been named D-Day or D+0 in the plans.

But the announcement came late in the day - at 6.31pm on Thursday September 8 - meaning plans have been shifted a day to allow the complex arrangements to be put in place, meaning D+0 will be considered Friday.

Charles and Camilla stayed at Balmoral on Thursday, but will return to London on Friday.

Despite his grief, duty calls for new sovereign Charles and his first audience as monarch with Prime Minister Liz Truss is expected to happen as soon as practically possible.

Charles will meet the Earl Marshal - the Duke of Norfolk - who is in charge of the accession and the Queen's funeral, to approve the carefully choreographed schedule for the coming days.

The arrangements - codenamed London Bridge - have long been planned in consultation with the Government.

They will incorporate Operation Unicorn, the contingency plans for the death of the Queen in Scotland.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II dies aged 96, Buckingham Palace confirms

At midday on Friday, church bells are expected to ring across the country in commemoration of the Queen.

Tributes to the Queen will also be paid by MPs in the House of Commons, led by Prime Minister Liz Truss and Speaker of the House Lindsay Hoyle.

At 1pm, there will be gun salutes fired in London's Hyde Park and at other stations. There will be one round for every year of the monarch's life.

A period of royal mourning for members of the royal family and royal households will be observed until seven days after the Queen's funeral, the date of which is to be confirmed by Buckingham Palace.

The Government will confirm the length of national mourning, which is likely to be around 12 days, from now up to the day after the Queen's funeral. They will also announce that the funeral day will be a public holiday in the form of a Day of National Mourning.

At 6pm, the King will make a televised address to the nation, which he is due to pre-record. He will pay tribute to the Queen and pledge his duty to his service as the new sovereign.

A public service of remembrance will be held at St Paul's Cathedral at 6pm, which will be attended by the Prime Minister and senior ministers.

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D-Day+1 - Saturday September 10

At 10am on the day after The Queen’s death, the Accession Council — which includes senior government figures — will meet at St. James’ Palace to proclaim King Charles the new sovereign.

Hundreds of privy counselors, including the PM and senior ministers, will be asked to attend, with gentlemen expected to don morning dress or lounge suits with black or dark ties. No decorations are to be worn.

Then Charles holds his first Privy Council, accompanied by Camilla - the new Queen - and William who are also Privy Counsellors, and makes his personal declaration and oath.

The first public proclamation of the new sovereign is read in the open air from the Friary Court balcony at St James's Palace by the Garter King of Arms.

The proclamation will then be read at St. James’ Palace and the Royal Exchange in the City of London, confirming Charles as King.

Proclamations are made around the city and across the country. Union flags go back up to full-mast at 1pm and remain there for 24 hours to coincide with the proclamations before returning to half-mast.

Parliament will meet to agree on a message of condolence. All other parliamentary business will be suspended for 10 days.

MPs will give tributes in the House of Commons.

At 3.30pm, Charles will also hold an audience with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.

D-Day+2 - Sunday September 11

The Queen's coffin is expected to be taken by road to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

Proclamations will be read in the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland devolved parliaments in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.

D-Day+3 - Monday September 12

Procession is expected along Royal Mile to St Giles' Cathedral. Service and the Vigil of the Princes by members of the royal family.

The public may get the chance to file past the Queen's coffin at a mini lying in state in St Giles'.

The House of Commons and the House of Lords are expected to come together in Westminster for a Motion of Condolence, which the King could attend.

After leaving England and visiting Scotland, Charles will at some stage travel to the other countries of the UK - Wales and Northern Ireland - known as Operation Spring Tide.

D-Day+4 - Tuesday September 13

Queen's coffin expected to be flown to London. Expected to be at rest at Buckingham Palace.

A rehearsal for the procession of the coffin from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster takes place.

D-Day+5 - Wednesday September 14

The Queen's lying in state is expected to begin in Westminster Hall - Operation Marquee - following a ceremonial procession through London. It will last four full days.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will conduct a short service following the coffin's arrival.

Hundreds of thousands of people will file past the coffin on its catafalque and pay their respects, just as they did for the Queen Mother's lying in state in 2002.

The management of the queues outside is Operation Feather.

Senior royals are also expected to pay their own moving tribute, standing guard at some stage around the coffin - the tradition known as the Vigil of the Princes.

D-Day+6 - Thursday September 15

Lying in state continues and a rehearsal is likely to take place for the state funeral procession.

D-Day+7 - Friday September 16

Lying in state continues, ending on D+9. Heads of state begin to arrive for the funeral.

D-Day+10 - the Queen's funeral - expected to be Monday September 19

The Queen's state funeral is expected take place at Westminster Abbey in central London.

It hasn't been revealed yet when Her Majesty will be laid to rest - but it's expected to be in around 10 days' time (Monday 19).

The original plans are for the Queen's coffin to process on a gun carriage to the abbey, pulled by naval ratings - sailors - using ropes rather than horses.

Senior members of the family are expected to poignantly follow behind - just like they did for the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh.

The military will line the streets and also join the procession.

Heads of state, prime ministers and presidents, European royals and key figures from public life will be invited to gather in the abbey, which can hold a congregation of 2,000.

The service will be televised, and a national two minutes' silence is expected to be held.

The same day as the funeral, the Queen's coffin will be taken to St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle for a televised committal service.

Later in the evening, there will be a private interment service with senior members of the royal family.

The Queen's final resting place will be the King George VI memorial chapel, an annex to the main chapel - where her mother and father were buried, along with the ashes of her sister, Princess Margaret.

Philip's coffin will move from the Royal Vault to the memorial chapel to join the Queen's.