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London Bridge is Down

By: Mattie Fitzpatrick | September 12, 2022

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 11: Queen Elizabeth II talks to guests at an evening reception for members of the Diplomatic Corps at Buckingham Palace on December 11, 2019, in London, England.

Photo Credit: Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images

“London Bridge is Down.” These are the words to convey the death of the world’s longest British Monarch. Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday, Sept. 8, 70 years after she was officially named Queen of the United Kingdom. In the wake of her death, the biggest question is: what happens now? What do we do when a staple that’s been around for most of our lifetimes passes away?

The last time this event occurred was when Queen Elizabeth II’s father, King George VI, passed away on February 6, 1952. Queen Elizabeth II immediately became Queen, however her official coronation didn’t take place until June 2, 1953, when Queen Elizabeth was 25. This delay occurred because in Britain, there is a tradition of allowing a period of time to pass after a monarch dies before holding such festivities. Queen Elizabeth is the longest reigning British monarch in the world, reigning for 70 years and 214 days, and is the second longest reigning sovereign in world history, behind Louis XIV of France who reigned for 72 years and 110 days.

From the beginning of her reign, plans have been put in place if Queen Elizabeth II passes away and there have been meetings two to three times a year since the beginning of her reign. Within 10 minutes of the Queen’s death, Operation London Bridge was put in place. The Prime Minister was made aware of the Queen’s passing, and all flags on Whitehall Road, which is home to a number of government buildings were flown at half-mast. Within the next few days, all government websites will be changed to have a black banner with the Queen’s name and her lifetime at the top. The Accession Council will take place, which is a special meeting of the Privy Council that will officially proclaim Charles to be King and tie up loose ends within the course of two meetings in the days immediately after the passing of Queen Elizabeth. The official coronation of King Charles III will take some time to plan and because of the customary tradition of mourning after the death of a monarch, we can expect it not to be happening within the next few months. King Charles is the oldest British monarch to take the throne with his wife Camilla Parker Bowles taking the title Queen Consort at the request of Queen Elizabeth. King Charles passed down his title of Prince of Wales, which is traditionally held by the heir, to his eldest son William with his wife becoming Princess of Wales which is a title last held by Prince William’s mother Princess Diana Spencer.

Within the coming days, Queen Elizabeth is to be celebrated and remembered. Operation Unicorn is to be put in place as her coffin is transported from Balmoral Castle in Scotland where she passed to London England. Ten days of mourning will occur with her coffin being taken to St Giles’ Cathedral for private services and then to London where her funeral is expected to be held in Westminster Abbey although an official date for the funeral has not yet been announced. The day of her funeral will be a national day of mourning in the UK with many offices closed and a two-minute moment of silence will be held at noon. Her funeral procession will include a military parade with members of the Royal Family as Queen Elizabeth is transported to Westminster Hall, where the public will be able to pay their respects, from Buckingham Palace. Queen Elizabeth is said to be buried next to her husband, Prince Phillip who passed away in 2021, at Windsor Castle’s King George VI Memorial Chapel.

Queen Elizabeth was survived by her four children, King Charles III, Anne, Princess Royal, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. She was born Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor on April 21, 1926, to King George VI and Queen Mother Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons. She had one sister, Princess Margaret, and married Phillip Mountbatten, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, and remained married to him until his death in April 2021. Queen Elizabeth is known as one of the most beloved rulers of Britain and she will surely be missed in the future. She was known as a bright and lively woman throughout her life and was involved in many world events such as World War II and took part in many political changes such as the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the decolonization of Africa, and the withdrawal of Britain from the European Union.

LONDON - DECEMBER 1958: Queen Elizabeth II poses for a portrait at home in Buckingham Palace in December 1958 in London, England.

Photo Credit: Donald McKague/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images


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