London Bridge is Down
I have been fascinated by the Royal Family for as long as I can remember. My dad woke me up so I could watch Prince Charles marry Lady Diane. I stayed up all night watching the coverage of Princess Diana’s death. Got up in the middle of the night to watch the weddings of William and Kate and Harry and Meghan. I watched the funeral service for Prince Phillip.
And I have watched hours of news coverage and specials about Queen Elizabeth. Including about an hour yesterday of the walk from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall. I will continue to do so in the days ahead and it is safe to assume that I’ll be watching the funeral on Monday (setting my DVR now for the 3 a.m. start).
London Bridge is Down. This is the phrase that was established to refer to what would take place once the Queen had passed away. It discussed the procedures to inform family members, foreign diplomats and top officials, it addresses the various steps that will take place up until and including the day of the funeral and her burial, who will be invited, and so on. In fact, there were other plans as well, such as Operation Unicorn. Because she passed away in Scotland, elements of this plan were activated in order to follow the protocol there. The Unicorn is the official national animal of Scotland.
The planning for the death of Elizabeth II has been in place for decades. Not unlike other heads of state, processes and protocols are written, reviewed, rewritten and reviewed again until such time as they are in use. Media that cover the monarch have been preparing stories, checking (and double checking) facts, timelines and chronologies to ensure accuracy in their reporting. Members of the Royal Family and other close associates know what is expected of them. It is all a well-orchestrated process, with centuries of history to guide its implementation.
As her death means that Prince Charles has become King Charles III, another set of protocols dictates the process by which he ascended to the throne, the roles of his heirs (William and Harry) and others within the royal succession.
It is safe to assume that all contingencies have been addressed, leaving nothing to chance.
RIP Your Majesty.