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Queen Elizabeth II Alamy Stock Photo
operation london bridge

UK Cabinet Office reportedly launches inquiry into leaking of Queen’s death plans

These plans, codenamed Operation London Bridge, were seen in full by Politico.

LAST UPDATE | 3 Sep 2021

AN INQUIRY HAS reportedly been launched by the Cabinet Office following the leaking of national plans to honour the memory of the Queen following her death.

The detailed arrangements known by the codename London Bridge – which cover everything from the lowering of flags to an address by the Prince of Wales – were published by the Politico website.

Operation Spring Tide – the plan for Charles’ accession to the throne – was also featured by the internet site which specialises in political reporting.

Details of the the UK government’s major security operation to manage the aftermath of the death of Queen Elizabeth II were revealed. 

These plans, codenamed Operation London Bridge, have been seen in full by Politico.

The security plan outlines everything from how the news of the queen’s death will be delivered to the public to how official social media accounts will be managed. 

The document provides details on what will happen during the 10 days following the monarch’s death. 

Politico reports that the day the queen dies will be referred to as D-Day. The 10 days that follow will be referred to as D+1, D+2 and so on. 

It reports that in the hours following the queen’s death, a “call cascade” will take place to inform the prime minister, the Cabinet secretary and a number of senior ministers and officials. 

Departmental permanent secretaries will be provided with a call script outlining how to break the news to their ministers that will read: “We have just been informed of the death of Her Majesty The Queen.” Ministers will also be told that “discretion is required”. 

The Cabinet secretary will send an email informing ministers and senior civil servants. 

Once the email is received, flags across Whitehall will be lowered to half-mast, it’s reported. 

The royal household will issue an “official notification” delivering the news to the public. 

Politico reports that the queen, who is 95 years old, is still in good health and that there is no suggestions these plans have been revisited with any urgency. 

Social media

Politico reports that many of the immediate plans following the queen’s death relate to social media. 

The royal family’s website will change to a black holding page with a short statement confirming her death, while the UK government website and all government departmental social media pages will display a black banner at the top. 

It’s reported that non-urgent content must not be published and retweets are banned unless cleared by the central government head of communications. 

Government plans

It’s reported that the UK parliament will meet to agree on a message of condolence and that will other parliamentary business will be suspended for 10 days. MPs will deliver tributes in the House of Commons. 

The prime minister will be the first member of the government to issue a statement, while all other government members will be told not to comment until after the PM has spoken. 

It will be arranged by the Ministry of Defence for gun salutes to take place at all saluting stations. 

A national minute’s silence will be announced. 

It’s also reported that the prime minister will hold an audience with the new king at 3.30pm and at 6pm that day, King Charles will deliver a broadcast to the nation. 


Politico reports the royal family will announce the plans for the queen’s funeral.

The funeral is expected to be held at Westminster Abbey 10 days following her death. 

There will be a two minutes’ silence across the UK at midday. 

Processions are to take place in London and Windsor. 

A committal service will take place in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle and the queen is to be buried in the castle’s King George VI Memorial Chapel.


The Daily Telegraph quoted a senior Government source as saying the Cabinet Office had started an investigation into the leak of the plans.

The newspaper quoted the source as saying: “If it turns out to be an old version that was widely circulated and does not include the most sensitive material, it might go no further than that – but if it’s a fuller version that is only circulated to, say, 10 people, then the Cabinet Office will launch a formal inquiry.”

Buckingham Palace has declined to comment.

Royal aides are likely to be frustrated at the information appearing in the public domain, especially as there have been few leaks over the decades.

Elements of the plans will have been circulated to specific organisations, in areas like local government, the military and sections of the media, to brief them on their roles in the arrangements.

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