After years of assumptions and alleged leaks, we finally know exactly how Britain will handle the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Though Her Majesty is in good physical and mental health by all accounts, she is – after all – 95 years old.
Her age, coupled with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, means the royal family and officials cannot take preparations too seriously.
The latest plans were drawn up by the Cabinet Office for Operation London Bridge (the codename indicating the queen's death) and Operation Spring Tide (the codename indicating Prince Charles' accession to the throne) and were recently obtained by Politico.
The documents show the intense level and specific types of actions required by all arms of the British state, including a massive security operation to manage travel chaos and large crowds.
They also state that the prime minister and his cabinet will meet the queen's coffin at St. Pancras station and that he who will become King Charles will begin his tour of the United Kingdom in the days leading up to his mother's funeral.
The queen will be buried exactly 10 days after her death.
Internally, the day she passes will be referred to as "D-Day," with each following day leading up to her funeral being referred to as "D+1," "D+2" and so on.
In the hours after her death, a "call cascade" will ensue. It will begin with the prime minister, followed by the cabinet secretary (Britain's highest-ranking civil servant) and then the most senior ministers and officials.
All phone calls and emails delivering the news are to have specific wording, which are outlined in the plans.
Within 10 minutes of the aforementioned senior ministers and officials receiving the email, flags across Whitehall will be lowered to half-staff.
The royal household will then issue an "official notification" to the public.
According to the documents, the U.K. parliament and the devolved legislatures in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will then adjourn. (If parliament is not sitting, it will be recalled.)
Afterward, all government websites and social media pages will be draped in black to reflect their collective state of mourning.
The royal family's website will change to a black holding page and contain a short statement confirming the queen's death.
The U.K. government's website will display a black banner at the top, as will all government departmental social media pages. The latter will also change their profile pictures to their respective departmental crests.
Nothing except urgent content will be posted or published, and retweets/reposts are explicitly banned unless cleared by the central government head of communications.
After that, the royal family will announce specific plans for the queen's funeral, which will be followed by an official statement from the prime minister.
All other members of government are not to comment until after the PM has spoken.
The Ministry of Defence will then arrange for gun salutes to take place at all saluting stations, which will be followed by 1 minute of silence across the nation.
The prime minister will then hold an audience with the new king, and at 6 PM exactly, King Charles will deliver a broadcast to the nation.
The schedule for the 10 days of travel, appearances and announcements following the queen's death are outlined specifically in the plans.
On D+10, processions will take place in London and Windsor, with the funeral itself being held at Westminster Abbey.
At noon, there will be a nationwide silence for exactly 2 minutes.
There will be a committal service in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, and the queen will be buried in the castle's King George VI Memorial Chapel.