operation london bridge | 

What happens when the Queen dies? Sombre music, black ties and no comedy on the BBC

The Operation was fully approved by Queen Elizabeth II herself and has been updated three times a year every year since then.

Queen Elizabeth II. Picture: PA© PA

There is a wildly elaborate plan in place for when Queen Elizabeth II dies

Daragh KeanySunday World

A lot of people are now wondering what is going to happen when the Queen passes away.

An elaborate plan was devised back in the early 60s and named Operation London Bridge, which specifies every little detail including the wearing of black ties in the BBC, comedy TV removed from transmission, sport fixtures cancelled and radio stations forced to ‘play sombre music’. Oh…and there will be two public holidays also. One for the Queen’s funeral and another for King Charles’ coronation.

The Operation was fully approved by Queen Elizabeth II herself and has been updated three times a year every year since then.

There are two parts to Operation London Bridge: The formalities, and the impact on society. As a grief-stricken Britain is expected to temporarily grind to a halt, various ceremonies and mourning processes take place.

There is a wildly elaborate plan in place for when Queen Elizabeth II dies

In the immediate aftermath of Elizabeth II’s death, this is the plan:

The Queen’s death will first be communicated by her private secretary. This information will then be passed on to UK Prime Minister, Liz Truss.

Flags will be flown at half-mast within 10 minutes of government officials being told about her death. Gun salutes will take place afterwards.

Any tweets and retweets by government officials must be signed-off by spin doctors first. No-one can make a statement until the Prime Minister does.

A TV announcement will be made by Buckingham Palace. A funeral will then take place 10 days later.

Her body will lie in state for three days at Westminster Abbey. Prince Charles, expected to become King, will then tour the country.

The day of The Queen’s funeral AND the day of the Prince Charles’ coronation will BOTH be public holidays in the UK.

Amazingly, the rules stretch even further than that. An ‘obit light’ will go off in all commercial radio stations across the UK. When this happens DJs will be required to play ‘sombre music only’.

The BBC will enforce the wearing of black ties amongst all male presenters before an announcement is made.

The network will then briefly show her portraits, accompanied by the national anthem, before the news of her death is broken.

TV schedules will be disrupted for days on end: Archive footage and pre-recorded content will likely fill the airwaves.

In fact, over a 12-day mourning period, the BBC will be required to REMOVE all of its comedy programmes.

Airline pilots will also be required to tell passengers about The Queen’s death while they are mid-flight.

Britain would eventually be compelled to reprint its currency too, to reflect the new monarch on the throne.

Most sporting fixtures will also be cancelled out of a mark of respect, but it is unclear how long this will go on for and the day of the funeral will also affect sporting events all over the Commonwealth.

Netflix also has a plan for Operation London Bridge: Production on The Crown would cease “for a week.”


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