Details You Should Know About Operation London Bridge

Operation London Bridge is the codename for what happens after Queen Elizabeth II, the current monarch of the United Kingdom and head of the Commonwealth of Nations, dies.

According to The Guardian, the first thing that happens after the Queen dies is that the Prime Minister of the U.K. will be informed immediately on a secure telephone line that originates from the Foreign Office's Global Response Center. The Global Response Center is located in London, though its exact address is kept under wraps. Civil servants from the palace will use the exact phrase "London Bridge is down" as a way to ensure privacy — though now that the idiom has become public knowledge, it is up for debate how much confidentiality the phrase provides.

Once the Prime Minister has been informed, the news will then be delivered to the 15 governments outside of the United Kingdom where the Queen is the head of state — including nations such as Canada, Australia, Jamaica, and Tuvalu, per Forbes.

Next, the message will be delivered to the nations that are members of the Commonwealth, where the Queen serves as a symbolic figurehead.

The public will be kept in the dark for some time

While the government notifies other high ranking officials, such as ambassadors and governors, the public won't actually be informed for several hours. For example, when Queen Elizabeth's father passed away, the public was told around four hours later, per The Guardian. The additional time is necessary to schedule the official press release and protocol to occur simultaneously. Once the newsflash is released to the media, a "footman in mourning clothes" will emerge from Buckingham Palace and place an old-fashioned paper notice with an ornamental black border onto the gate.

According to The Week, media companies are already prepared for when the Queen dies. In fact, The Times reportedly has around 11 days of coverage already written on the subject. As reported by Business Insider, reporters also have black clothing in their offices and are expected to change into them to cover the somber news. Similarly, senior government and palace officials are expected to wear black armbands as a symbol of mourning.

The Queen will automatically be given a state funeral as the monarch of the United Kingdom, which is expected to take place 12 days after her official date of death. Many businesses, including the London Stock Market, will be closed to honor the funeral, and the United Kingdom and world will watch to see Prince Charles ascend to the throne.