Update: On Thursday (Sept. 8), Queen Elizabeth II passed away at the age of 96. Her death was announced in a statement from Buckingham Palace following news that her health was declining and medical professionals were watching her closely. Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne made her the longest reigning monarch in Britain’s history. “The queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” Buckingham Palace noted.
Original Story: A numbing consequence of the pandemic for many of its survivors has been coping with consistent COVID-related deaths. The World Health Organization’s WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard confirmed over 5.8 million global fatalities thus far. Some of the collective’s most powerful figures have become casualties of the infectious disease. An associated widespread announcement was released by the gossip website Hollywood Unlocked on Tuesday (Feb. 22), stating the following:
“Socialites, it is with our deepest regret to inform you that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has died. Sources close to the Royal Kingdom notified us exclusively that Queen Elizabeth has passed away. She was scheduled to attend the wedding of British Vogue editor Edward Enninful, but was found dead.”
A slew of social media speculation faced Jason Lee, the blog’s founder, questioning his credibility. The next morning (Feb. 23), he doubled down on Twitter, writing, “Woke up to some fake account posting a retraction. We do not know that account and we have not retracted our story. There has yet to be an official statement from the Palace. Staying tuned.” By the afternoon, CNN’s London office confirmed, “Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II spoke with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said, despite the monarch suffering mild symptoms after her positive COVID-19 diagnosis.”
Now that we have established Britain’s longest-reigning monarch is alive, let’s review what will happen abroad following her death. A plan dubbed “Operation LONDON BRIDGE” originated in the 1960s following the 95-year-old queen‘s succession in 1952. Per POLITICO, “In the hours after the queen’s death, a ‘call cascade’ will take place informing the prime minister, the cabinet secretary (Britain‘s highest-ranking civil servant) and a number of the most senior ministers and officials. The PM will be informed by the queen’s private secretary, who will also tell the Privy Council Office, which coordinates government work on behalf of the monarch.” During this period, it is expected that Charles, Prince of Wales, 73, will ascend to the throne as her heir.
His potential advancement will be unlike other kings before him, as the Prince was born at Buckingham Palace in 1948. According to Britannica’s archives, “As the child of a younger son of King George V, the young Elizabeth had little prospect of acceding to the throne… there was an announcement of her betrothal to her distant cousin Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten of the Royal Navy… On the accession of Queen Elizabeth, her son Prince Charles became heir apparent…” Her son’s tenure is the longest in Wales’ history and spans 70 years. Even so, Lee’s mentioned platform’s recent false fatality claim has been shared adjacent to other controversial reports concerning the royal family.
For example, Business Insider cited a Russian TV host Dmitry Kiselyov who asserted, “… a war was being sought by the royals in order to distract from unwelcome news: namely Prince Andrew’s legal settlement of Virginia Giuffre’s sexual-assault case against him…” In conjunction, Buckingham Palace has dealt with other allegations, such as those published with Reuters concerning the police investigation into Prince Charles’s charity activity. For some, it may be unclear what the future holds for the monarch’s sons logistically between news statements. The leaked Cabinet Office documents included “Operation Spring Tide,” the 10-day action plan for Prince Charles’ accession. Several of the governmental “D-Day” (a codename for the queen’s passing) procedures are summarized by legislative outlines, respectively:
“Each following day leading up to the funeral will be referred to as ‘D+1,’ ‘D+2’ and so on. The royal household will issue an ‘official notification’ delivering the news to the public. A call script for departmental permanent secretaries outlining how to break the news to their ministers… Upon receipt of this email, flags across Whitehall will be lowered to half-mast… The U.K. parliament and the devolved legislatures in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will adjourn.”
Queen Elizabeth II‘s funeral will be held on the tenth day following her passing at Westminster Abbey. Ahead of this occurrence, the Accession Council will meet at St. James’ Palace to acknowledge her heir as the new sovereign. A daily breakdown is anticipated to commence beginning from D-Day+1 thusly, “All members of the Privy Council are summoned. The Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London and High Commissioners of Realm Commonwealth countries are invited to attend,” notes The Royal Household‘s page. Additionally, any parliamentary business affairs are paused until after the queen’s memorial services.
On D-Day+2, the queen’s coffin will return to Buckingham Palace. The monarch’s remain’s engagements and transportation will be in accordance with her place of death. A hypothetical illustration is detailed resultantly, “If the queen dies at Sandringham, her residence in Norfolk… her body will be carried by royal train to St. Pancras station in London,” records POLITICO‘s European section. The prime minister and cabinet ministers are expected to connect near her casket. Subsequently, on D-Day+3 at Westminster Hall, the new king will accept the motion of condolence and begin his official tour of the four nations of the United Kingdom. The first stop is alongside the Parliament of Scotland.
Following these events, on D-Day+4, the next motion of condolence will be received at Hillsborough Castle. Rehearsals will begin with the queen’s coffin between Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Westminster. D-Day+5 will execute “Operation LION,” best known as a formal route through London honoring the queen before her first viewing at Westminster Hall. Demonstrations outside of the monarch’s residences will also take place, i.e., “A 41-gun salute — almost seven minutes of artillery — will be fired from Hyde Park,” wrote MyLondon News.
Concerning these circumstances, outlets such as BBC will “… refrain from playing comedy shows as a sign of respect until after the funeral,” confirmed Business Insider. More than extra security arrangements, the prime minister will need to factor in the possibility of additional COVID-19 spikes. Should the queen die during the pandemic, large crowds pose a threat to all festivities and themselves, health-wise.
Numerous happenings will be streamlined from D-Day+6 to D-Day+9. Projected events are listed by the original source chronologically, “… a rehearsal will take place for the state funeral procession. King Charles will travel to Wales to receive another motion of condolence at the Welsh parliament… The Foreign Office is tasked with arranging the arrivals of heads of state and VIPs from abroad… the government’s National Security Secretariat and intelligence services will be on high alert for any increased terror threat.”
Lastly, on D-Day+10, Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral will be held and offered a national moment of silence before she is buried in her family’s memorial chapel. These documented protocols are speculated to remain subject to upcoming ventures and political positions. Neighboring European territories Russia and Ukraine are now at war. Despite her COVID-19 diagnosis, the queen held an audience with the prime minister via a call from Windsor Castle this week. Buckingham Palace staff virus cases have been confirmed. Moving forward, guests who enter the monarch’s quarters are expected to take a Coronavirus test, as she is a high-risk elder and working light duties.