While it is difficult to imagine the U.K. without Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her death is something that can happen in the near future. She is now 93. And “London Bridge Is Down,” the detailed secret plan for when she passes away, has long been set in place. Here are the things that will happen in the U.K. when Queen Elizabeth dies.

The Media

It all begins as Queen Elizabeth’s private secretary, Sir Christopher Geidt, contacts the Prime Minister with the code “London Bridge Is Down.” The Foreign Office’s Global Response Center will then notify 15 other governments, as well as the Press Association, about the Queen’s death. This will lead to a domino effect across all media portals.

“Radio Alert Transmission System (RATS)” will be activated on BBC, and blue obituary lights will flash in commercial radio stations. The royal standard will also appear on television screens, and all comedy shows will be cancelled until after the funeral. Pilots will be responsible for breaking the news to all their passengers during their flight.

Queen Elizabeth’s Remains

If the Queen dies in Sandringham, Norfolk, her body will be transported to London via a car a day or two after her death. If she dies abroad, the Royal Flight will take off from Northolt with her coffin onboard. If she dies in Balmoral, Scotland, a Scottish ritual will be instigated, where her remains will be laid in Holyrood before being carried up the Royal Mile to St. Gile’s Cathedral. From there, the Royal Train will fetch her body down the east coast.

Her actual funeral will be held inside the throne room of Buckingham Palace, guarded by four Grenadier Guards. As soon as her body is laid at the Palace, bells will toll and flags will fly at half-mast all over the U.K.

The New Monarch

On the evening of Queen Elizabeth’s death, King Charles will address the nation and tickets proclaiming him as the new king will be printed in the next 24 hours. His proclamation will be witnessed by all members of the Privy Council, and the ceremony will be led by genealogist Thomas Woodcock. After his proclamation, trumpeters will give three blasts outside the Friary Court.

In the first nine days of Queen Elizabeth’s death, ritual proclamations and diplomatic assembling will take place throughout the U.K. The new king and his wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, will go on a four-nation tour to England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

The Funeral

Queen Elizabeth’s funeral will be made public. As her body is laid at Buckingham, dignitaries and royal families from all over the world will come to London, while Westminster Hall will be locked and carpeted all over. During her funeral, bollards on the Mall will be removed and a military parade will take place from Buckingham down to the Mall and then past the Cenotaph.

The doors of the Westminster Hall will then be opened as the coffin of Queen Elizabeth will lie in state there for four days. Her funeral will be open for public viewing for 23 hours a day. Nine days after her death, her body will go from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey, where church and memorial services will be held. At this point, the whole of U.K. is expected to be silent.

The coffin of the Queen will be placed inside a green gun carriage before it is buried at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor, Sandringham or Balmoral in Scotland. After her burial, the British public is expected to be in a state of mourning for at least three more days.


After the Queen is buried, the next significant event in the U.K. is the coronation of King Charles. This event will mark a national holiday in the country. The words of the U.K.’s national anthem will also change as a result of her death.

Queen Elizabeth Queen Elizabeth II attends a State Banquet at the Philharmonic Hall on the first day of a tour of Slovakia on October 23, 2008, in Bratislava, Slovakia. Chris Jackson/Getty Images