Funerals held for members of the Royal Family are unlike any other funeral you will see; fiercely bound by tradition and protocol, royal funerals are large-scale events run just like a military operation and they require massive amounts of forward planning. The Queen’s funeral plan is codenamed Operation London Bridge, and many other royals have similar monikers – Prince Philip’s was Operation Forth Bridge, and Prince Charles’ is Operation Menai Bridge.
Operation London Bridge was developed in the 1960s and is reviewed several times a year. Little is known about Operation London Bridge – only those that need to know are privy to the plan, and all old plans are destroyed as soon as a new version is agreed.
Operation London Bridge covers everything from the process of reporting the Queen’s death, to where she will lay in state – which is dependent on where she passes away. Responsibility for coordinating the effort lies with the Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal. The Norfolk family have apparently overseen royal funerals since 1672.
All aspects of Operation London Bridge have been prearranged down to the smallest of details. It is a major operation that requires a coordinated effort from government departments, the Church of England, the British Armed Forces and the Metropolitan Police to name but a few.
Protocol dictates that decisions relating to the Queen’s funeral can only be made by her heir, Prince Charles, and the Earl Marshal, who have final sign-off. However, the Queen has reportedly had input and made some critical decisions relating to Operation London Bridge, much like Prince Philip with his own funeral.
The importance of planning your funeral in advance cannot be underestimated. Arranging the day, down to the very last detail in advance, ensures you get the farewell you want, and paying for it beforehand means you’ll ease both the financial and emotional pressure on your family.