The nation is coming to terms with the death of Queen Elizabeth II, our longest serving British monarch.
Buckingham Palace announced the death of the Queen at around 6.30pm on Thursday 8 September, just hours after they revealed she had been placed under “medical supervision” at Balmoral Castle.
The news comes around 15 months after the Queen’s husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, died aged 99 in April 2021 – just two months before turning 100.
The Queen’s children and some of her grandchildren travelled to Scotland to be by her side in the final hours of her life, and shortly after her passing a code name was triggered to notify senior royals, as well as the Prime Minister and other officials.
But what is the code name which revealed the death of the Queen, and what are the code names associated with other members of the royal family?
Here’s what we know.
What happens now the Queen has died?
As we all know, when a monarch dies the crown is passed down to the next in line to the throne.
In this instance, it will be King Charles III, formerly Prince Charles, who will take up his long-awaited position as king and will have a great say in some of his mother’s funeral plans.
Many people are still coming to terms with the news that the country’s longest reigning monarch has died at the age of 96, but plans have been drawn up already.
The news of Her Majesty’s death was told to civil servants using the code name "Operation London Bridge”.
Aside from the queen’s immediate family, her private secretary, Sir Christopher Geidt, was one of the first people to hear about her passing and he then contacted the prime minister, Liz Truss.
The PM heard the words ‘London Bridge is down’ on a secure telephone line – to keep the message strictly confidential – and then Commonwealth countries and countries where the Queen was Head of State will be informed.
The announcement of the death of a royal family member is given via a notice pinned to the gates at Buckingham Palace and in the form of a newsflash sent to the world’s media.
The media broke the news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II at around 6.30pm, and the official notice was pinned to the gate of the late Queen’s London residence a short while later.
Her Majesty’s passing may also mean that many workers across the country will be given some time off work in the coming days as part of national mourning.
Do other royal family members have secret code names?
Royal family members are each assigned the name of a bridge to be used as a code word in the event of their death.
Prince Philip’s bridge was “Forth Bridge”, with a corresponding “Operation Forth Bridge” plan for his death. Prince Philip died in April 2021, just two months short of his 100the birthday.
Funeral plans for Princess Diana and the Queen Mother both shared the code name “Operation Tay Bridge”. Princess Diana died in August 1997 in a car crash in Paris, while the Queen Mother died in 2002.
The royal family, meanwhile, are required to take black clothes and three-and-a-quarter inches armbands with them whenever they travel, to be worn in the event of a royal death.
The code name for Prince Charles’ death is Operation Menai Bridge, which is a suspension bridge between the island of Anglesey and mainland Wales. The exact details of Operation Menai Bridge have not yet been formalised.
What might happen on the day of the Queen’s funeral?
The details of the Queen’s funeral have not yet been released, but the UK and the world have now entered a period of mourning.
The response following the death of previous royals also gives an indication of what may happen now.
Before her burial the Queen’s body will ‘lie in state’ in Westminster Hall, open for 23 hours a day until the funeral.
Big Ben is set to strike at 9am on the day, with church services and memorials expected to be held around the country the night before.
At 11am the coffin will arrive at the doors of Westminster Abbey, where the service will take place, and the nation will fall silent with the world’s media broadcasting the service around the globe.
On the day of Her Majesty’s funeral, it is expected that shops will shut, or work at reduced opening hours, the stock market will pause and a day off will be in store for most of the nation.
It is also likely that the service will be held 12 days after the queen’s death.
Hundreds of floral tributes and messages of condolence have already been left outside Buckingham Palace, Balmoral Castle and Windsor Castle - and this number is only expected to grow.