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Operation London Bridge Explained

Operation London Bridge Explained
09 September 2022 | Updated 12 September 2022

As people across the globe mourn the loss of Queen Elizabeth II, ceremonial and logistical preparations are now underway to bring Her Majesty home to her final resting place.

The state response after a monarch’s death is an organisational process like no other. Known as Operation London Bridge, these are plans that involve a huge national security operation, unprecedented crowd management, mourning and condolence arrangements and state ceremonies not seen since the death of George VI in 1952.

It is thought that transport providers in the capital will make further announcements to support the planning and management of potentially hundreds of thousands of visitors wishing to lay floral tributes, as well as visits from heads of state from across the world.

The following information is based on a leaked document to Politico in September 2021.


D-Day+1 – Friday 9 September

The Accession Council and Royal Salutes


Royal Salutes will be fired in London at 13.00 BST in Hyde Park by The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery and at the Tower of London by the Honourable Artillery Company. One round will be fired for each year of The Queen's life.

A remembrance service will be held at St Paul's Cathedral at 18.00 BST, which will be broadcast on the BBC.

King Charles III will also make a televised address to the nation.

On either Friday 9 September or Saturday 10 September, a meeting of the Accession Council will be held at St James's Palace. It is here that formal proclamations of the death of the Monarch and the accession of the successor to the throne will be heard. The proclamation will then be read at the Royal Exchange in the City of London, confirming Charles as King.

The Accession Council is made up of the Lord Mayor, the High Sheriffs of the City of London, some senior civil servants, the Prime Minister and senior ministers.


D-Day+2 – Saturday 10 September

Transport from Balmoral to Edinburgh


As the Queen passed away at her Scottish residence in Balmoral, Operation Unicorn will be put into place. The Queen will lie at rest at St Giles’ Cathedral before the coffin journeys to London.


D-Day+3 – Sunday 11 September

King Charles’ Tour


The new King Charles, after reconvening a motion of condolence at Westminster Hall, will commence a UK tour. 


D-Day+4 – Monday 12 September



Charles will visit Westminster Hall where both the House of Commons and the House of Lords will express their condolences. Charles will also make an address.

King Charles will then fly to Edinburgh, where he will accompany the Queen's coffin from Edinburgh's Palace of Holyroodhouse to St Giles' Cathedral. The Queen will lie at rest at the cathedral for 24 hours.

Charles will also have an audience with Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as part of his Scottish visit. He and the Queen Consort will also attend the Scottish Parliament to hear condolences.

In the evening, King Charles will hold a vigil with other members of the Royal Family at St Giles' Cathedral.


D-Day+5 – Tuesday 13 September

Procession to Buckingham Palace


Today, the coffin will be moved from St Giles' Cathedral to Edinburgh airport, and then by plane to RAF Northolt, and then by car to Buckingham Palace. The procession will then travel to the Palace of Westminster for a serice.

King Charles will receive more motions of condolence at Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland and will attend a service at St. Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast.

Rehearsals will also begin for Operation Lion, the state procession of the Queen’s coffin from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster.


D-Day+6 to D-Day+9 – Wednesday 14 September –  Sunday 18 September



Under codename Feather, in the Palace of Westminster, the Queen’s coffin will lie in state for four days and it will be open to the public for 23 hours a day.

Rehearsals for the state funeral will also take place, and King Charles will travel to Wales to receive another motion of condolence and attend a service at Liandaff Cathedral in Cardiff.


D-Day+11 – Monday 19 September

State Funeral and Bank Holiday


Held at Westminster Abbey, the Queen's funeral will be accompanied by two minutes of silence at midday.

There will be a committal service in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, and the Queen will be buried at King George VI Memorial Chapel.

The day has been marked as an official Bank Holiday.


Condolences and Mourning at the Royal Residences


All royal residences will enter into an official state of “Royal Mourning”, from now (Friday 9 September) until seven days after the Queen’s funeral.

Flags at Royal Residences were half-masted yesterday (on the day of the Queen’s death), and will remain so until 08.00 AM on the morning after the final day of Royal Mourning.

For mourners wanting to leave floral tributes at royal properties, the following guidance has been issued:


  • At Buckingham Palace members of the public will be guided to lay floral tributes at dedicated sites in The Green Park or Hyde Park. Flowers left outside the gates of Buckingham Palace will be moved to The Green Park Floral Tribute Garden by The Royal Parks. Further guidance will be issued by The Royal Parks.
  • At Windsor Castle, floral tributes can be left at Cambridge Gate on the Long Walk. These flowers will be brought inside the Castle every evening, and placed on the Castle Chapter grass on the south side of St George’s Chapel and Cambridge Drive.
  • At the Sandringham Estate, members of the public are encouraged to leave floral tributes at the Norwich Gates.
  • At Balmoral Castle, floral tributes can be left at the Main Gate.
  • At the Palace of Holyroodhouse, members of the public are encouraged to give floral tributes to the Wardens at the entrance to The Queen’s Gallery. Those flowers will be laid on the Forecourt grass in front of the North Turret of the Palace.
  • At Hillsborough Castle, floral tributes may be laid on the Castle Forecourt, in front of the main gates.


Picture: a photograph of Queen Elizabeth II. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Article written by ThisWeekinFM | Published 09 September 2022


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