“Operation London Bridge” is currently trending after recent news of Queen Elizabeth II’s ill health began dominating social media.
As Travel Noire reported earlier today, England’s longest-reigning monarch is currently reposing at Balmoral in Scotland, and her family has rushed to her bedside for reasons that have yet to be disclosed.
“Following further evaluation this morning, the Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision. The Queen remains comfortable at Balmoral,” read an official statement from the Royal Family, per our report.
This statement, combined with the news of the Royal Family — including Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke & Duchess of Sussex — traveling to be at her bedside, the announcement of no changing of the Royal Guards at Buckingham Palace, and the BBC suspending all programming until 6pm GMT, have led many to speculate that “Operation London Bridge” is in full effect.
Whenever a head of state dies, there are always top-secret plans in place to ensure the peaceful transition of power without the ensuing chaos that comes along with it. And the British head of state is no exception. The death of Queen Elizabeth II will affect other countries — including Jamaica and St. Lucia — so here’s what you need to know about “Operation London Bridge.”
Operation London Bridge affects all countries under the British commonwealth — including The Bahamas, Belize, and Jamaica
The official website for the British Royal Family reveals that there are 14 commonwealth countries, in addition to the United Kingdom, that will be directly impacted by the death of Queen Elizabeth II: Australia, The Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, St. Christopher and Nevis, St. Lucia, and Tuvalu.
And all 14 of these countries will be directly impacted by Operation London Bridge.
In a nutshell, when Queen Elizabeth dies, her private secretary will be the first person to convey the news to the British prime minister. Using secure lines, the phrase “London Bridge is down” will be used to indicate that the Queen has died.
From there, after all the government officials in the UK have been informed, the heads of state for the 14 Commonwealth countries are informed. And this continues until all the “official” people are in place, with the general public being the last to know.
Operation London Bridge was first devised in the 1960s
The first Operation London Bridge plan was devised in the 1960s, and updated accordingly, according to The Guardian. The plan has been updated three times a year since it was first devised.
Prince Charles will be crowned King the same day
According to the Herald Scotland, Prince Charles of Wales will become King Charles on the same day that Queen Elizabeth dies. At that time, too, Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall will become Queen Consort (because she’s not part of the royal bloodline, she wouldn’t simply be called “Queen”).
A different plan will be in place if the Queen dies in Scotland
While Operation London Bridge will be in effect if Queen Elizabeth II dies in England, the plan will change slightly if the Queen dies in Scotland. At that point, the plan — which will be known as Operation Unicorn — will change slightly. Once the Queen’s death is made public, Holyrood Palace, St Giles’ Cathedral, and the Scottish Parliament will be the focal points of the commemoration, funeral, and all other plans. Charles’s coronation, however, will still be in London.