Plan for when Queen dies has been in place since 1960s

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Queen Elizabeth II, 96, ascended to the British throne in 1952, and celebrated her Platinum Jubilee in June 2022.

While we hope Her Majesty has many healthy years ahead of her, the Queen is not immortal.

Elizabeth II is Britain’s longest-serving monarch, but at some point her reign will come to an end.

She is the cornerstone of the Commonwealth, patron to almost 600 organisations and charities – and there is no doubt her passing will bring a lot of change.

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It will affect people all over the globe in a way we can’t even imagine – but the plans for what will happen in the days after her passing have been firmly in place for years.

The Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, passed away on April 9 2021, and was buried on Saturday, April 17 the same year.

His funeral plans had been firmly in place for many years under the code name Forth Bridge.

But what will happen when the Queen herself passes away?

What happens when the Queen dies?

When the Queen dies, the Prime Minister will be informed of the news via Her Majesty’s Private Secretary, Sir Christopher Geidt, through secure lines to avoid any leaks.

The leader will be woken from their sleep if necessary, and told that “London Bridge is down”, according to The Guardian.

What comes next is a series of events known as Operation London Bridge.

A key part of this will be informing the 15 countries and 36 Commonwealth nations where the Queen is Head of State.

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Historically, because the BBC is funded by licence-payers, it has been told about Royal deaths ahead of other media outlets.

But in recent years it’s common for major announcements to go out to the world’s media at once via a news agency such as the Press Association.

Following the initial announcement, the BBC will cancel scheduled comedy until after her funeral.

Commercial radio stations will be notified through blue “obit lights” which are supposed to light up in the event of a national emergency.

This will give DJs notice that they will be switching to a special news bulletin, and reminds them to play inoffensive music in the meantime.

A Buckingham Palace footman will also pin a black-edged notice to the gates of the palace.

On the day itself, it’s likely that most UK workers will be sent home early.

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This will be followed by a 12-day mourning period, which means flags will fly at half-mast, newsreaders will wear black and MPs will wear black armbands.

Preparations will be made for the state funeral, which will be led by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The day of the funeral will become a national holiday, and banks and the London Stock Exchange will close.

Her body will be taken to the Throne Room of Buckingham Palace, wherever she dies.

The Queen's coffin will then lie in state at Westminster Hall for four days so people can pay their respects.

It is also believed that the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will be buried side-by-side.

At some point after the Queen passes away, Prince Charles will become King.

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  • Queen
  • Funerals
  • Royal Family

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