Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning monarch Britain has ever seen. At 90-years-old she has worn the crown for 65 years, surpassing Queen Victoria by 2 years already. But what will happen on the sad day when she passes away?
The Queen Mother passed away in 2002 – the same year as Princess Margaret – at the impressive age of 102-years-old, but following speculation around the Queen's ill-health over Christmas, the discussion of what will happen when she dies is in full force.
According to The Daily Mail, the chain of events that will follow the Queen’s death have been rehearsed for decades. Civil servants will use the code ‘London Bridge Is Down’ to signal that she has passed away.
Queen Elizabeth’s father George VI, who took the throne when his brother abdicated, was the last British monarch to die, 65 years ago. The news of his death was communicated by the code ‘Hyde Park Corner’.
According to The Guardian, the secret procedure that will trigger the chain of events when the Queen dies is known as ‘Operation London Bridge,’ and details how the news will be distributed to the press and the duties her family will undertake.
It is stated that the Queen’s private secretary, Sir Christopher Geidt, will be the first official to hear the news, and it will be he that then informs the Prime Minister.
The news will then be passed to 36 other countries in the Commonwealth and then other world leaders, before the general public is told. Newsreaders will most likely interrupt television programmes and will be wearing black.
According to The Daily Mail, ‘a footman in mourning clothes will emerge from a door at Buckingham Palace, cross the dull pink gravel and pin a black-edged notice to the gates. While he does this, the palace website will be transformed into a sombre, single page, showing the same text on a dark background.’
From then Britain will enter a period of mourning that will last for 10 days. Prince Charles will then become King at 11am the following day, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s titles will be changed to Prince and Princess of Wales.
The Queen’s funeral will take place 12 days after her death, and will be lead by the Archbishop of Canterbury and her coffin will be taken to Westminster Abbey by gun carriage.
It is so far unknown whether she will be buried with her father King George VI at the St George’s Chapel in Windsor or whether she will be laid to rest in Balmoral or Sandringham.