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HM Queen Elizabeth II
Photograph: WPA Pool

Unusual things that will happen in London now the Queen has died

There is a strict procedure following the death of the Queen, including some things you might not have thought of

Written by
Lauryn Berry
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The event of Queen Elizabeth II’s death will see huge upheaval in the capital. The procedure after the Queen’s death was planned in the minutest detail, known as ‘Operation London Bridge’. Here are some of the stranger things that happen over the following ten days.

RECOMMENDED: What will happen now that the Queen has died?

The ‘new King’s proclamation’ takes place in Trafalgar Square and at the Royal Exchange

This is when the new monarch is officially declared to the country. King Charles III won’t actually be in the streets of London to do it. The proclamation will be made at St James’s Palace on Saturday September 10 in the presence of the Accession Council and government officials. After that, tradition demands that the Garter King of Arms (the monarch’s advisor when it comes to official ceremonies) and the royal heralds repeat the same proclamation at The Royal Exchange and in Trafalgar Square. 

London could ‘overflow’ with visitors

Between our 9 million inhabitants and millions of tourists visiting every year, London is one of the most populous cities in the world. But that could all balloon excessively following the Queen’s death. The death of a figure as unique as the Queen is bound to cause worldwide mourning. According to Politico, who saw leaked documents from Operation London Bridge, there are massive security plans in place to keep the crowds in check. The government will have to coordinate a team composed of police, security, the army and transport heads, who will meet at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to run their operations. 

The government might hire extra staff to lower Downing Street flags

The government is actually genuinely concerned that they will seem disrespectful if they don’t lower the flags on Downing Street quick enough. It is believed that external help has been hired to help carry out this task, and the goal is to lower all the flags within ten minutes. So if you’re walking down Whitehall and see someone scurrying around the poles, you know what’s occurring.

There’s a special operation to move the Queen’s body to London

In an addition to Operation London Bridge, Operation Unicorn will see the Queen’s body transported back to the capital (traditionally by train but this time by plane), as she died at Balmoral in Scotland. Upon arrival in London, her coffin will be met by Prime Minister Liz Truss and members of the cabinet.

The Queen’s coffin will be carried from Buckingham Palace to Westminster in a procession

Processions are part of most funerals, but most of them don’t include a vast number of military personnel and the closure of many of London’s famous roads. That’s the plan for the Queen. On D-Day+5, the fifth day after the queen’s death, her coffin will be carried in a procession from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster. Apparently, it is also not entirely out of the question for the Queen’s famous corgis to join. There’s a rehearsal the previous day (D-Day+4) to make sure it all goes smoothly. 

The Queen will lie in state for several days

Once her body arrives at the Palace of Westminster, the Queen will lie in state for four days in Westminster Hall before her funeral. The public will be allowed to file past it for 24 hours a day. The last time this happened was after the death of the Queen Mother in 2002, when 200,000 people passed her coffin. THis time, authorities expect up to 750,000 visitors and five-mile, 12-hour queues.

There will be a day off to mark the Queen’s state funeral

It has been confirmed that there will be an extra day’s holiday in the UK on Monday September 19. This extra day off will not be known as a ‘bank holiday’, though it will effectively function like one. Instead, it is officially a ‘day of mourning’.

If you were flying in to London, your pilot would have broken the news

Now this is truly surreal. Picture this, you’ve just been on a relaxing holiday, you’re soaring through the sky, wondering what to have for dinner… And that’s when your plane’s captain comes on the intercom to announce that the Queen has died. It’s true, though: this is another part of Operation London Bridge’s infinitely detailed protocol: they have pictured every possible scenario and found a way to break the news.

Don’t go walking in Hyde Park: there will be a 41-gun salute

If there’s one thing the monarchy is good at, it’s keeping with tradition. And they’re not letting this one go by the looks of it. On D-Day+1, the same day Charles will be proclaimed King – there will be approximately seven minutes of artillery barrage in Hyde Park. Gun salutes have constituted royal tradition since the eighteenth century. When the Duke of Edinburgh died there was also a salute, with one round being fired every minute for 40 minutes. Even if the park is closed, it might be worth keeping a safe distance and not walking your pup nearby.

Big Ben’s bongs will be muffled

On the ninth day after Her Majesty’s death, the Great Bell of Big Ben will chime at 9am, but the sound that follows will be muffled by a thick layer of leather that will cover the hammer. 

When is the Queen’s state funeral, and how do I attend?

Eco warriors have been removing plastic wrappers from floral tributes in Green Park.

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