Her Majesty the Queen died Thursday surrounded by her family at Balmoral.
Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest reigning monarch, has died. She was 96. On the heels of the stunning news that has reverberated around the world, an explicitly detailed series of protocols -- including the Prince of Wales' ascension to the throne -- will begin to roll out.
According to multiple reports, a slew of code-named operations are in place, each calling for specific plans for various scenarios. First, there's Operation London Bridge, which is to signify that the queen died in England. But with the queen having spent her final days at Balmoral in Scotland, a separate operation will take place: Operation Unicorn, which signifies the queen died in Scotland.
Following the queen's death (known internally as D-Day), the prime minister, the cabinet secretary (Britain's highest-ranking civil servant) and a number of senior ministers and officials will be informed of the tragic news. According to Politico, which obtained the U.K. government's plan for what will transpire in the hours and days after Elizabeth's death, the prime minister will receive the official news from the queen's private secretary. The royal household will then issue an "official notification," meaning they'll deliver the news to the public. The royal family's website will also go black and have a short statement. The official government's website will also display a black banner at the top. Same goes for all government social media pages.
Royal expert Katie Nicholl told ET back in February what the typical protocol entails following the queen's death.
"Well, when the queen does pass, there is a plan in her place. It is what we call the British Plans, and the plan for the queen is known as London Bridge," Nicholl explained. "And the first person to be informed of the queen's death will be the prime minister. And, after that, will be the royal household who will make the news official and to the public. When the event actually happens it will be made public and you will know that it is absolutely real, not fake news. And the royal website will be blacked out with the short statement confirming [the news]."
Politico reports that, internally, each day after the queen's death and leading up to the monarch's state funeral will be referred to as "D+1," "D+2" and so forth. There's also an official call script, which calls for how departmental secretaries are to deliver the news to their ministers. According to Politico, the script goes as such: "We have just been informed of the death of Her Majesty The Queen." Following the call script, ministers will be told that "discretion is required," largely in part so that proper protocols are followed in the way they've been outlined in preparation of the queen's death.
Ministers and senior civil servants will then receive an email from the cabinet secretary. The drafted email reads, "Dear colleagues, It is with sadness that I write to inform you of the death of Her Majesty The Queen." Once this email is sent, flags across Whitehall (the street recognized as the center of the U.K. government) will be lowered to half-mast. The protocol calls for this act to be done within 10 minutes of the email receipt.
Upon news of the queen's death, Parliament would be immediately suspended to prepare for her state funeral. Operation Unicorn will call for the monarch to be taken from Balmoral on a special train to Edinburgh, where she will initially rest in state at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
The day after the queen's death, Operation Spring Tide goes into effect, which calls for Prince Charles' ascension to the throne. The Accession Council at St. James' Palace will take place at 10 a.m. local time to proclaim Charles as the new King of England. Approximately five hours later, the new King of England will hold an audience with the prime minister.
Elizabeth's coffin will be carried to St. Giles' Cathedral of Edinburgh's Royal Mile, where those who wish can pay their respects. Further protocol calls for the queen to be transported by royal train from Waverley Station to London. If for some reason her coffin can't travel by train, Operation Overstudy will kick into place, meaning the coffin will instead travel by plane.
There will be a rehearsal for Operation Lion on D-Day+4, which is the procession of the coffin from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster. On D-Day+10, the state funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey. Around midday, there will be a moment of silence for two minutes across the nation.
When the state funeral ends, the queen is expected to be buried at Windsor Castle's King George VI Memorial Chapel, next to her late husband, The Duke of Edinburgh.
For updates on Queen Elizabeth's death, visit ET's ongoing coverage here.