What Happens When the Queen Dies and Who’s Next in the Line?

As the royal family rushes to Queen Elizabeth’s side today while she remains under medical supervision, questions have arisen about what happens when Her Majesty dies.

Operation London Bridge is a set of royal protocols that layout what happens between her passing and state funeral. In place since 1960, they were outlined in Politico a year ago.

The document says that shortly after her death, “D-Day” goes into effect. The day that the Queen dies will be referred to as D-Day, while every day afterward will be referred to as D+1 and D+2 and so on.

A series of phone calls will take place informing senior members of parliament. The “Call Cascade” involves informing Liz Truss, the U.K’s prime minister and the cabinet secretary.

An email draft will be sent to senior civil servants. It currently reads “Dear colleagues, It is with sadness that I write to inform you of the death of Her Majesty The Queen.”

Furthermore, an official statement will come from the royal household informing the staff, civil servants, and the public of the Queen’s death.

After this email is received, flags across Whitehall in London will be lowered to half-mast.

The news will be announced via an alert on the Press Association wire. Any pilots who are mid-air will also inform passengers on flights if the news is announced when they are in the air.

Gun salutes arranged by the Ministry of Defence will also take place and a minute’s silence will be announced.

Truss, as prime minister, will be the first member of the government to make a statement on Her Majesty’s death.

The document also outlines social media guidelines following the Queen’s passing. Those guidelines point to the royal family’s website and the U.K government website both displaying black banners. Their social media pages are also required to show black banners. The report says, “Non-urgent content must not be published. Retweets are explicitly banned unless cleared by the central government head of communications.”

On D-Day+1, at 10 a.m. the day following the Queen’s death, the Accession Council will meet at St. James’ Palace and the Queen’s eldest child, Prince Charles, will be proclaimed the new sovereign.

On the day of the Queen’s funeral, which will be D-Day+10, a state funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey and there will be a national day of mourning.

A two-minute silence will also be held across the U.K at midday.

Following the funeral, the Queen will be interred at Windsor Castle’s King George VI Memorial Chapel.

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