Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s longest reigning monarch, died on Sept. 8, putting into operation long-established plans for mourning, her funeral and the accession of her son Charles to the throne.

Operation London Bridge, the formal plan after her death, outlines official activities for the days up until her funeral at Westminster Abbey, the London church where her coronation and marriage were held.

Because the queen died at Balmoral in Scotland, the plan included contingencies for transporting her body back to London called Operation Unicorn.

Here are details about events in the run-up to the funeral as provided so far by Buckingham Palace and other royal officials. Aides have stressed they are subject to last minute changes.



The queen died on Thursday, Sept. 8, aged 96. The day is known as “D-Day” in Operation London Bridge planning.

In London, a notice of the death was placed on the gates outside Buckingham Palace, remaining for 24 hours and visible for people queuing along Constitution Hill, the adjacent road, to file past.

Across the country flags were flown at half-staff in Royal residences, government buildings and military establishments

Balmoral Castle


Balmoral Castle



Queen’s coffin placed here

Illustration of the Balmoral Castle in Scotland, also showing the ballroom where the queen’s coffin was kept.


A nation begins to mourn

The government declared a period of national mourning through to the end of the day of the state funeral.

In Scotland, the queen’s coffin was taken to the ballroom of Balmoral Castle where staff paid their respects.

The new King Charles paid a heartfelt tribute to his late “darling mama” Queen Elizabeth in his first televised address to the nation as king, and vowed to serve as monarch with “loyalty, respect and love” as she had done for more than seven decades.

Charles paid tribute to his mother for her devotion to her family and to those she reigned over, saying her loss brought great sadness and a “sense of loss, beyond measure”.


A new king is proclaimed

The Accession Council met at St James’s Palace, the official residence of the sovereign, to formalise Charles’s position as king and proclaim the successor.

The proclamation was read from the Proclamation Gallery, a balcony above Friary Court of St James’s Palace, and is accompanied by gun salutes.

A crowd cheered on as David White, the Garter King of Arms, read out the official proclamation. “Three cheers for Majesty the King,” the senior herald in England shouted from the balcony, prompting a response of “hip, hip, hurrah” from soldiers below.


The queen left Balmoral for the last time

The queen’s coffin was driven from Balmoral Castle to Edinburgh, moving slowly on a 6-hour drive via Aberdeen.

It arrived at Holyrood Palace, the monarch’s official residence in Scotland, where it was met by a military bearer party on the forecourt and taken to the throne room.





Inner Court

Throne Room

Located on the ground floor of this part of the palace. The coffin will be placed here.


Illustration of the Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, highlighting the Throne Room, where the queen’s coffin will be kept.


Procession in Scotland

King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, travel to Edinburgh from London.

At 2:35 p.m. (1335 GMT) the coffin will be taken in a procession from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to St Giles’ Cathedral on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile with the king and royal family members following on foot.

The Crown of Scotland will be placed onto the coffin as it is carried inside for a short service.

The king and other royals will hold a vigil at 7:20 p.m. (1820 GMT) and the coffin will remain there for about 24 hours.


Holyrood Palace to

St Giles Cathedral





Royal Mile

Royal Mile

Edinburgh Waverley

railway station

Edinburgh Waverley

railway station


St Giles


St Giles


Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Illustrative map showing the Royal Mile in red, connecting Holyrood Palace at the top to St. Giles’ Cathedral at the bottom end. Surrounding places are labelled: Edinburgh Waverley Station to the left and Edinburgh Castle further down the Royal Mile.


Journey to London

At 5 p.m. (1600 GMT) there will be short prayers at St Giles’ before the coffin is taken to Edinburgh Airport to be flown to London, accompanied by Elizabeth’s daughter Anne, arriving at 8 p.m. (1900 GMT).

It will be taken by state hearse to Buckingham Palace and placed in the Bow Room.

The coffin will be brought to the Bow Room of the Palace at the rear of the building, facing the garden. The Imperial State Crown and a wreath of flowers will be placed on the coffin by the Crown Jeweller.



A 317.4 carat diamond was the second largest stone cut from 3,106 carat Cullinan diamond


It’s not an actual ruby, but a stone called a balas or spinel

Frontal illustration of the Imperial crown, highlighting St. Edward’s Sapphire at the top centre, Black Prince’s Ruby at the centre and the Cullinan 2 Diamond at the bottom centre.


Procession through London

At 2:22 p.m. (1322 GMT), the coffin will be placed on a gun carriage and taken to the Palace of Westminster. The king and other members of the royal family will walk in silence behind.

During the procession, Minute Guns will be fired at Hyde Park and Westminster’s famous Big Ben bell will toll. It will arrive at Westminster Hall at 3 p.m. (1400 GMT) and be placed on a Catafalque with a short service, conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Buckingham Palace

Victoria Memorial

The Mall

Parliament Square

Westminster Hall

New Palace Yard

Illustrative map of the route from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, with the palace at the top and Westminster Hall at the bottom. Surrounding landmarks are highlighted: the Victoria memorial in front of the palace, The Mall and the Parliament Square in front of Westminster Hall.

Some members of the royal family will walk behind the coffin, others will go directly to Westminster Hall. Senior members of the royal household, personnel staff of the queen, will be present.

The coffin will enter through the north door at about 3 p.m. A bearer party, likely to be from the 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guards, will carry the coffin onto the catafalque.

There will be a short service, probably conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury with members of the royal family present.

The lying in state begins and lasts until the day of the state funeral with a vigil conducted around the catafalque. Members of the public will be allowed to pay their respects and the expectation is that millions may want to visit, with the government overseeing a system to make this possible.

River Thames

Big Ben

Palace of


Westminster Hall



Queen will be lying in state with a vigil conducted around the catafalque

Illustration of Westminster Hall, highlighting the Palace of Westminster at the rear end along River Thames, Westminster hall – where the coffin will be kept, and Westminster Abbey at the front.

More than 200,000 people queued to pay their respects to Elizabeth’s mother while her coffin lay in state in Westminster in 2002.



Charles will travel to Wales, visiting Llandaff Cathedral for a service before later attending the Welsh Senedd, the national assembly building, for a motion of condolence.

At Cardiff Castle he will hold an audience with the First Minister and Presiding Officer of the Welsh Assembly and host a reception there.

During the evening, it is expected that the queen’s four children – Charles, Andrew, Anne and Edward – will stand vigil by her coffin for a period of time



In the afternoon, King Charles will receive the Governor Generals and potentially the prime ministers of the 15 Commonwealth realms where he is head of state.


Foreign royals

Charles might have a reception with foreign royals visiting for the funeral. Early evening, he will hold a reception with all the visiting heads of state, prime ministers and governor generals.

Elizabeth’s grandchildren might stand vigil at Westminster Hall.


The Funeral

The day of the queen’s funeral. Many shops are expected to close and the London Stock Market will be shut. At 8.30 a.m., Westminster Hall will be cleared ending the lying in state.

Shortly afterwards, the congregation, expected to include nearly all the world’s leaders, will start arriving at Westminster Abbey.

At 10.45 a.m, the coffin will be placed on the state gun carriage and taken from the Palace of Westminster a short distance over the road to Westminster Abbey. At 11 a.m., Britain will fall silent and the state funeral will begin.

Palace of Westminster

The coffin will be placed on the state gun carriage and taken over the road to Westminster Abbey



Same illustration as above of Westminster Hall, this time highlighting the Abbey. The coffin will be placed on the state gun carriage and taken over the road to Westminster Abbey

After the service, there will be a funeral cortege from the abbey which will possibly be the biggest military procession ever seen in Britain. The coffin will be transferred to a vehicle where it will be driven to Windsor, about 20 miles (32 km) west of London.


Wellington Arch



Shortest route











1 km

Map showing the route from Westminster to Windsor.

There will be a procession through Windsor to the castle, the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world which has been the family home of kings and queens for almost 1,000 years. The coffin will be taken to St George’s Chapel where there will be the Committal Service.

Later that evening the coffin will be lowered into the royal vault and in a private burial service later, it will be interred in the King George VI Memorial Chapel, in the North Nave Aisle where the queen’s parents and sister are buried.

The coffin of Prince Philip, the queen’s husband of 73 years who died in April 2021, is expected to be moved from the royal vault at Windsor to be buried alongside his wife


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