Opinion & Analysis

Operation London Bridge – By Steve Egbo


*(Funeral Program for Queen Elizabeth II)*

*(The death and funeral of Queen Elizabeth II)*. This is quite unusual in the sense that the Queen is still, not only alive, but in very excellent health.

In Africa, we don’t talk about death. We know we will die. Our loved ones will pass away. Our friends and colleagues will someday depart from us. But it is a taboo to talk about death, or even think about it. Perhaps, it is part of our spiritual makeup to believe that if we don’t talk about death, then it will not come, or at least, it will take considerable longer in coming.

In some other parts of the world, particularly the West, this regimentation is not as severe. Here, people want to know about death, talk about death, and prepare for death. In May, 2019 when I wrote about the funeral of George W Bush, I stated that arrangements for the funeral of presidents start on the day of inauguration. I also stated that the most spectacular funeral the world should expect, in the years to come, is *London Bridge*.

Crowned in 1952, at the age of 26, Queen Elizabeth has become the longest reigning monarch in all of British history. This record was previously held by King George III (1670-1820) and Queen Victoria (1837-1901). During this time, she has seen 14 Prime Ministers, 17 Summer Olympics, 14 US Presidents and 7 Popes. This is indeed a very extraordinary life. A record unsurpassed in all of human history.

The Queen is the cornerstone of the Commonwealth and the Patron to about 600 organizations and Charities. She plays a pivotal role in the the UK’s alliances with many countries. So, her passing will bring a lot of changes, not just for the UK, but potentially the rest of the world.

Today, I am going to talk about the preparation for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. At 95, Queen Elizabeth is very healthy, sound in mind and body and still well attuned to her royal duties. But she will not live for ever. Nobody will live forever. So, someday, the world will wake up to the news that Her Majesty has passed away. On that day, and the next several days, the following will happen or most likely will happen.

On the confirmation of the Queen’s death by her personal doctor, her private Secretary will immediately pass a message to the Prime Minister. The message will simply read *”London Bridge is Down”*. The Prime Minister will then set “OPERATION LONDON BRIDGE” into action. First the Prime Minister will summon an emergency Cabinet Meeting. Within minutes, the 16 governments outside of the UK will be informed over a secure line. This will be followed by the other 36 Commonwealth nations, the allies of the UK and leaders around the world.

The gates of Buckingham palace will dawn a black-edged notice of the news. At the same time, a newsflash will alert the media around the world:


Every media outlet is prepared for this news. Every radio station has a network of lights that will flash to indicate a national catastrophe such as this. All BBC shows will stop and proceed to run a feed dedicated to the news. News readers and presenters will change into black suits and clothing that is on hand at all times in the news studio. The traditional RED BBC News branding will turn black. Newspapers, TV channels and radio stations have days of coverage ready to go.

On the same day as the Queen’s death, her eldest son, Charles, will immediately become King. The stock exchange, businesses and shops across the UK will close for the rest of the day as a mark of respect.

The day after the Queen’s death, on a livestream, Charles will make his first official speech as king. He will reassure the the nation and the Commonwealth of *Continuity and Peace*. And the government of the United Kingdom will swear its allegiance to the new king to a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park, London. After that, King Charles, (if that is the name he chooses), will proceed on a tour of the United Kingdom, visiting leaders of government in the capitals of each country – Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff – before returning to London. During this period, TV channels will continue to play the many documentaries already made in the Queen’s honor. And the BBC will refrain from playing comedy shows as a sign of respect till after the funeral.

Four days after her death, the Queen’s casket will be led on a military procession from Buckingham palace to Westminster Hall. Here, she will lie in state for the next four days after which King Charles, family members, the government and dignitaries, will pay their respects. Then the doors will open to admit over a million people queued up outside.

The funeral is estimated to take place 10 – 12 days after the Queen’s passing, but one thing is certain. The day of the funeral will be an official bank holiday for the whole country. The stock exchange will close for a second time in under two weeks, and many businesses will also close. At the stroke of 11 am, the bells of Big Ben will chime, the country will fall silent. All movements will cease across the UK and its embassies all over the world. Every citizen of the United Kingdom, wherever they are in the world, will bow their heads in silent prayer for the soul of Queen Elizabeth. Then the coffin will be brought inside Westminster Abbey, where 2000 specially invited guests will again bow their heads in prayer. Then the service will commence to be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. At the end of the service, the coffin will be taken to Windsor Castle and finally to Saint George’s Chappel where Queen Elizabeth II will be laid to rest next to her father, King George VI and her mother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen mother.

Within a year after the funeral, an official coronation for king Charles will take place. The coronation will be another bank holiday. All in all, accounting for the multiple bank holidays, funeral expenses, and coronation celebrations, the Queen’s passing is estimated to cost the UK treasury something in the region of 3 billion pounds. In addition, hundreds of changes will happen across the UK in the months to follow. New British currency will be printed with the king’s portrait, and the Queen’s currency will be slowly removed from circulation. The same will happen for stamps, passports, police and military uniforms and other national symbols. The National Anthem will change from “God save the Queen” to “God save the King”.

It is also necessary to mention that how the world and the Commonwealth will react to the new king and these vast changes will affect the royal family for ever. For instance, there is growing support in Australia for the country to become a republic. It is believed that the Queen’s death will heighten this support. This could also lead other countries under the British dominion to follow suit, and this would certainly weaken the British monarchy.

This narration is a supposition, a projection, if you like, but one day, this scenario will be upon us. One day, operation London Bridge will be triggered, and unaguably the biggest funeral of all time will be witnessed around the world.
*The death of Queen Elizabeth II will mark the end of an Era.*

Finally, let me reiterate my personal love and admiration for Elizabeth Windsor. At 95, she is very healthy and strong, graceful and outgoing. She is still expected to be around for quite some time. After all, longevity runs in her genes. Her mother, Queen Elizabeth died at the age of 102. I see no reason why she can’t beat that record. And having read this narrative, you are already aware that this grand lady is very adept at smashing all existing records..

*Long Live Queen Elizabeth II*

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