The phrase “London Brigde is down” is not just any phrase about the bridge in London, but a code in British royalty. It was uttered when Queen Elizabeth II passed away.
“London Bridge is down”- That’s what’s behind the code
Translated into German, the code means “The London Bridge has collapsed”. The death of the British Queen on 8 September 2022 does not only affect Great Britain, but makes the whole world mourn for the head of state.
- With the code word “London Brigde is down”, “Operation London Bridge” began. A plan that sets out what is to happen after the death of Queen Elizabeth II and at what time. This plan has been in place for years and has been updated several times by the Queen.
- Such a procedure is important so that mourning the Queen’s death does not lead to emotional and national chaos.
- The day the British Queen dies is called D-Day. On this day, an era comes to an end. All subsequent days, up to the day of the funeral, are designated D-Day+1, D-Day+2 and so on.
- On D-Day, all ministers are informed of the Queen’s death. Ten minutes later, the flag is flown at half-mast and the British news agency Press Association broadcasts a flash message. At the same time, an official notice is pinned to the gate or an easel at Buckingham Palace.
- The UK Parliament and the parliaments of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are adjourned.
- A black message appears on the royal family’s website confirming the death and a black banner is displayed on the government’s website.
- The Prime Minister or Prime Minister will make the first official statement and hold an audience with the new King. This will launch Operation Spring Tide.
- The royal family publishes the plans for the state funeral. It is expected to take place ten days after the death. A national minute’s silence will be announced.
- Prince Charles is first in line to the throne. It is not yet clear what name he will bear as king. Possible names are Charles III or George VII. He was christened Charles Philip Arthur George and could take any of these names.
- The future King will address the nation on D-Day+1 at 7pm.
This is what happens on D-Day+1 to D-Day+10
According to “Operation London Bridge”, the procedures for the following days after the death of Queen Elizabeth II are also quite clear.
- D-Day+1: A council meets at 10am and he King is proclaimed the new monarch. The proclamation is read at St James’s Palace and the Royal Exchange. Charles is officially confirmed as King. Parliament also meets to pass a proclamation of condolence. All parliamentary business is suspended for ten days. Prime Minister and Cabinet will meet the new King at 3.30pm.
- D-Day+2: If the royal coffin is not already at Buckingham Palace, it will be taken there on this day. If the Queen dies at Balmoral in Scotland, her body will be transferred to London by royal train in “Operation Unicorn”. If that is not possible, her body will be flown back to London.
- D-Day+3: The new King receives the condolence motion at Westminster Hall and then embarks on a mourning tour of the United Kingdom, starting with Scotland. He will also receive a condolence motion in the Scottish Parliament and attend a service at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.
- D-Day+4: The King arrives in Northern Ireland. There he receives another condolence service at Hillsborough Castle and attends a service at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast. A rehearsal for the procession with the coffin from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster Parliament House will take place with “Operation Lion”.
- D-Day+5: “Operation Lion” takes place and the Queen’s coffin is transferred on a route through London from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster Parliament House. The memorial service takes place in Westminster Hall.
- D-Day+6: “Operation Feather” begins: the Queen is laid out in the Palace of Westminster for three days. The coffin is open to the public 23 hours a day. There will also be a rehearsal for the state funeral procession.
- D-Day+7: The King travels to Wales to receive a request for condolence from the Welsh Parliament and attends a service at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff.
- D-Day+8 and 9: The coffin will be laid out for two days and hundreds of thousands of people are expected in London to pay their last respects to the Queen. Books of condolence will be opened online.
- D-Day+10: It will be State Funeral Day. The Queen’s state funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey Cathedral. There will be two minutes’ silence across the country at noon. Processions will take place in London and Windsor. Queen Elizabeth II will be buried at Windsor Castle in the King George VI. Memorial Chapel next to her father. The Queen’s portrait will be hung with a black ribbon in all town halls for one month. It will then be replaced by a portrait of the new King.