Secret plans that detail what will happen in the days after the Queen dies have been leaked.
Dubbed Operation London Bridge, some of the plans were previously known, but much of it is brand-new information that reveal the inner workings of government and which has been planned for decades.
D-Day, as the day the Queen dies will be known internally, will also see the cabinet secretary (Britain’s most senior civil servant) and other senior officials informed as a matter of urgency, along with the Privy Council, which comprises other senior politicians such as the leader of the opposition.
When ministers and other senior civil servants are informed by email, flags across Whitehall will be lowered within 10 minutes. Parliament will adjourn (or be recalled) the same day, and the royal family’s website will change to a simple black holding page announcing the monarch’s death.
The government website will display a black banner carrying the same message, and all departmental social media pages will change their profile picture to their departmental crest, with non-urgent content withheld.
The prime minister will make a statement, and the royal family will announce plans for the Queen’s funeral. A national minute’s silence will be announced and gun salutes will take place around the country.
The prime minister will then meet the new King Charles, who at 6pm will address the nation.
The day after the Queen dies will be known as D-Day+1; it will be the first of 10 days of national mourning. At 10am, the Accession Council will meet at St James’ Palace to officially confirm King Charles as the new monarch. Parliamentary business will be suspended for the period of mourning, save for tributes and messages of condolence.
The Queen’s coffin will be brought to Buckingham Palace, either by royal train or aeroplane.
King Charles will begin a tour of the United Kingdom, beginning with a visit to the Scottish parliament and St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.
Charles will visit Northern Ireland. Operation Lion, the procession of the Queen’s coffin from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster, will be rehearsed.
Operation Lion will take place for real, as will a service in Westminster Hall.
D-Day+6 marks the beginning of three days of the Queen lying in state at the Palace of Westminster, which is codenamed Operation Feather. Her coffin will lie in the middle of Westminster Hall, which will be open to the public for 23 hours a day. VIPs will be handed tickets for specific time slots. A rehearsal of the funeral procession will take place.
D-Day+7 – D-Day+9
Charles will visit the Welsh parliament on D-Day+7. This period will also be when foreign heads of state and other VIPs begin to arrive in the country ahead of the funeral.
London is likely to be overrun with Brits and tourists as people scramble to be present for the funeral, with transport systems, hotels, healthcare, and other services being overwhelmed.
The day of the funeral will be an official day of national mourning. While some will view this as a bank holiday, it will not officially be one, and so if it falls on a work day, employers will not be asked to give their employees a day off – it will be down to the employers’ discretion. If it falls on a weekend or an existing bank holiday, there will be no substitute bank holiday granted.
The Queen’s state funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey, with two minutes’ silence held across the country at midday. Processions will take place in both London and Windsor. The Queen will be buried at Windsor Castle following a service in St. George’s Chapel.