Royal funerals have long been suffixed with the word “Bridge”. This was the case for Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, the Queen Mother in 2002 and the Duke of Edinburgh, who died on April 9 last year, aged 99. The details of Her Majesty’s death are known as Operation London Bridge.
Security services and senior officials have known about the plans – regularly updated – for years.
The Queen is said to have been involved in its planning and preparations, but the final say on certain aspects of the funeral will rest with King Charles III, her son.
A state funeral is due to take place on Monday September 19 and will be the largest since that of Sir Winston Churchill in January 1965.
Plans were for the service to fall on the 10th day after his death, but as the official announcement came late Thursday, this will be extended by one day.
It will be held at Westminster Abbey, which can accommodate a congregation of 2,000 people. It’s the place where she married the dashing sailor Philip in 1947 and where he pledged to be “her man-in-law of life and bodily integrity” at his coronation 70 years ago.
A massive security operation is already underway, in anticipation of mourners flooding London, as well as a potential terrorist threat and widespread travel disruption. It is very likely that the capital will completely come to a standstill.
It will fall to Prime Minister Liz Truss to meet the Queen’s coffin, most likely at King’s Cross. He will then travel on a gun carriage to the Abbey, pulled by naval sailors – sailors – using ropes.
Senior members of the Royal Family will follow, just as they did ahead of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.
All arms of the armed forces will be represented, not only in the procession but also in the streets.
Members of the public will be able to pay their respects beforehand while the Queen is in state at Westminster Hall.
The service will be led by the Dean of Westminster, who officiated at Prince Philip’s dedication service, and hundreds of heads of state, political leaders, European royals and other personalities will attend.
It will be televised to a global audience of hundreds of millions and a national two-minute silence will be observed. The Queen’s coffin will then be taken to St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for a televised service.
His final resting place will be the King George VI Memorial Chapel where his mother and father are buried, along with the ashes of Princess Margaret.
Philippe’s coffin will pass from the Royal Cave to this chapel to join it.