Operation London Bridge: When Is The Queen’s Funeral And King Charles’ Coronation?


The death of Queen Elizabeth on September 8 ushered in a time of mourning and a resounding question: what happens next? In total, she and her late husband Prince Philip had four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward. Prince Charles, 73, had been first in line to the throne much of his life. With the queen’s passing, he is already officially titled King of the United Kingdom. But what about his coronation and laying Queen Elizabeth to rest?

This question has actually been accounted for with a long-established plan called Operation London Bridge, a set of instructions that detail everything from how the public will be alerted to the queen’s death to how she will be mourned. Based on precedent, it’s possible to glean an estimated time for Charles’ official coronation.


Operation London Bridge provides instructions after the queen’s death

Coronation of King George VI: Front row, L-R: Queen Elizabeth (aka Queen Mother), Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II), Princess Margaret, King George VI, 1937 / Everett Collection

Though Queen Elizabeth’s rule lasted an unprecedented 70 years, much of what is about to happen is rooted in established patterns from modern British history. Using code phrases for royal deaths can be traced to the death of Elizabeth II’s father, King George VI, in 1952; the phrase Hyde Park Corner quickly alerted British officials to the monarch’s death and kicked off the mourning period and transition of power. After that, the Queen Mother was assigned Operation Tay Bridge, Operation Forth Bridge for Prince Philip, and Operation London Bridge for Elizabeth II. Even her son, the newly-appointed King Charles was given one: Operation Menai Bridge.


RELATED: Breaking: Queen Elizabeth II Dies At Age 96

According to these instructions, Queen Elizabeth’s private secretary Sir Edward Young is the first official to share news of her passing – exempting family members and medical personnel. Young tells current prime minister Elizabeth Truss “London Bridge is down,” which means the monarch died. There are 15 governments outside of Britain that are alerted through the Foreign Office’s Global Response Centre, along with 36 other Commonwealth nations where Queen Elizabeth served as a figurehead.

What will happen beyond Operation London Bridge?

Various events and deaths have code names and Queen Elizabeth’s was Operation London Bridge / Courtesy Everett Collection

A newsflash to the Press Association and a group of other outlets distills news of Queen Elizabeth’s death to the rest of the country, with an additional announcement put up outside Buckingham Palace by a footman. With the advent of the internet, announcements also went on on the royal family’s website and social media pages. Prince Charles is named king and will make statements, though he is not yet coronated. Charles is set to perform duties expected of the king already. Queen Elizabeth’s coronation was the first in British history to be televised and Charles’ will follow that precedent. As to when, Queen Elizabeth waited 16 months after her father’s death before her coronation. The fact that the royal family considers the coronation a “solemn religious ceremony” further suggests some time will pass before Charles is officially crowned. Even this has a name: Operation Golden Orb.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles / ImageCollect

At the very least, Brits have a little over a week before any plans like that come to fruition. Per tradition, Britain will enter a period of national mourning; it is not required for businesses to cease normal operations, though Time reports many have already done so. At the end of this period of mourning is when the royal family member will be formally laid to rest. The funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey and the queen will be buried at Windsor Castle’s King George VI Memorial Chapel. She will join her parents, sister, and husband, who has been resting in the Royal Vault in St. George’s Chapel while the queen still lived.

Some time will pass before Charles is coronated / Ref: LMK73-J6351-120320 Keith Mayhew/Landmark Media WWW.LMKMEDIA.COM / ImageCollect

RELATED: Rainbow Appears Over Buckingham Palace As Crowds Pay Respects For Queen Elizabeth

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