The State Hearse carries the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II
The 7 Biggest Moments From Queen Elizabeth II's Funeral Photo by Jacob King - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Mather started planning Queen Elizabeth II's lying-in-state and funeral 23 years ago.

He has now revealed the enormous amount of detail and effort that went into putting it all together, reported Mirror. Lt. Col. Mather started writing London Bridge in 1999 when the Queen was in her 70s, according to Daily Mail. London Bridge was the code name that was given for what would happen when the monarch died. He led a team of 300 people. They would meet once a year to revise the plans and then coordinate with courtiers.

Creating a replica of Westminster Hall inside an aircraft hangar for dry runs of the Queen lying-in state was part of the preparations. A special illuminated railway carriage with glass windows that would allow mourners to see the coffin as the train from Edinburgh traveled to London was also included in the preparations. But the carriage was never used in the end. Ultimately, it was decided that the train would cause too many disruptions to the network and make the public furious.

In fact, a man wearing boots with steel capped heels tested the carpets that were to be used in Westminster Hall. He walked around it 100 times to see how durable the material was.

Lt. Col. Mather worked together with the Duke of Norfolk as Earl Marshal, the Duke has formal oversight of royal funerals and coronations. But the Lt. Col was the one who drew up the plans for London Bridge, and he said that he thinks his first draft was 15 pages long. His final copy in 2017 was about two and a half inches thick.

He said that in the latter years, the team took over the "whole of the ballroom at Buckingham Palace." They did it all through a PowerPoint presentation, and people were "sworn to secrecy." They didn’t discuss it, "other than with those people who needed to know."

He also never spoke to the Queen about the funeral directly. Messages would go through her private secretary and be delivered in a Red Box. If she wanted any changes, she would write notes in the margin and then send them back. But sometimes, Lt. Col. Mather spoke directly with her son, the then Prince Charles.

Now King Charles is in his 70s, and Lt. Col. Mather already has some input on the initial draft for what happens when the new monarch dies. He said that his job description didn’t exist, and that it "covered everything and I enjoyed doing it. It was an honor, a privilege and an experience."

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II during the State Funeral
The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II during the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on September 19, 2022 in London, England. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born in Bruton Street, Mayfair, London on 21 April 1926. She married Prince Philip in 1947 and ascended the throne of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth on 6 February 1952 after the death of her Father, King George VI. Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8, 2022, and is succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III. Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage

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