What happens when Prince Philip dies - Operation Forth Bridge explained

The Queen’s husband has died at the aged of 99

Olivia Petter
Monday 12 April 2021 10:31
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Prince Philip obituary: The Duke of Edinburgh dies aged 99
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The Duke of Edinburgh, has died at the aged of 99, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.

The Queen’s husband Prince Philip was admitted to hospital earlier this year, where he stayed for one month, for treatment on a pre-existing heart condition.

“It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” the palace said in a statement on Friday.

“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”

There is protocol to follow when someone in the royal family dies, with each senior member given their own codename, which is always a bridge, to describe the respective procedures.

For Prince Philip, this codename is Operation Forth Bridge. Here’s everything you need to know.

What is the protocol following the death of Prince Philip dies?

The first part of the plan is to announce the death. Operation Forth Bridge dictates that Lord Chamberlain Baron Parker of Minsmere, who oversees arrangements following a royal death, consult with the Prime Minister and the Queen to plan the announcement.

The news will then be given to Press Association and the BBC first, while Buckingham Palace will also makes an announcement on its social channels.

The plan then dictates that the Prime Minister deliver a statement. This went according to plan, with Mr Johnson offering a statement outside the door to 10 Downing Street in which he hailed Prince Philip’s service in the Royal Navy during the Second World War.

He also praised the Prince’s work with young people through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme and the support he gave the Queen in maintaining the institution of the monarchy as a central part of British life.

Now, the UK enters into a period of national mourning. Various procedures will take place as part of this, including all union flags being lowered to half-mast on royal buildings where the Queen is not in residence.

It’s also expected that some newsreaders will wear black to indicate the period of mourning. Some news channels may even suspend programming, with the BBC announcing their plans to do just that.

“With the sad news that HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, has died, there is now special coverage across all BBC networks to mark his life of extraordinary public service and planned scheduling has been suspended,” it said in a statement.

What do other members of the royal family do?

The Queen and her children and grandchildren will also enter a period of mourning that could last several weeks. However, it has been reported that the Queen will enter a period of mourning lasting eight days.

During this time, most official engagements will be either postponed or cancelled, however, this is at the Queen’s discretion.

However, there are two different types of mourning: Family Mourning and Royal Mourning.

The former is undertaken by the royal family and also their households while the latter includes the royal family, their households and the Queen’s representatives in the UK. It is longer than Family Mourning and also means that black-edged writing paper is used.

The Queen will decide which type of mourning will be undertaken.

Will there be a funeral?

The Duke is entitled to a state funeral, however, this will be impacted the pandemic. Normally, people would be expected to head to Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle and gather outside on the day of Philip’s funeral,

However, Prince Philip has previously reportedly said that he would prefer a no fuss, simple funeral, rather than a grand affair.

Now it has been confirmed that the Duke will lie in rest at Windsor Castle in line with his wishes following his funeral, which take place at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

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