Leaked Memo on Queen’s Death Shows Wording Government Staff Must Use

  • A leaked document shows the wording UK government employees must use when the Queen dies.
  • A memo obtained by Politico shows how Britain plans to respond to the monarch’s death.
  • Operation London Bridge begins with a “cascade call” to the prime minister and passes to employees.

A leaked document that outlines the queen’s death plan reveals the specific wording UK Government employees must use when alerting other employees of the news.

According to the documents seen by Politico, there is a call script in place for departmental permanent secretaries which instructs them on how to break the news to their ministers.

Politico reports that the script for when the 95-year-old monarch dies says: “We have just been informed of the death of Her Majesty The Queen.” Ministers will also be told that “discretion is required.”

It further noted that ministers and senior civil servants will then receive an email from the cabinet secretary, a draft of which reads: “Dear colleagues, It is with sadness that I write to inform you of the death of Her Majesty The Queen.”

In 2017, the Guardian reported that the plan will begin with a secure call from civil servants to the UK prime minister to alert them that “London Bridge is down.”

Politico reports that it is the queen’s private secretary who will alert the prime minister and describes what happens next as a “call cascade,” which will inform “the cabinet secretary (Britain’s highest-ranking civil servant) and a number of the most senior ministers and officials.” 

The publication further reports that the date of the queen’s death will be internally referred to as “D-day” and each day leading up to her funeral will be noted as “D+1,” “D+2,” and so on. 

According to The Guardian, the “announcement will go out as a newsflash to the Press Association and the rest of the world’s media simultaneously.”

Meanwhile, Politico reports that the general public will learn of the news via an “official notification” which will be issued by the royal household.

The death plan reportedly places UK government employees under social media restrictions, with a rule that they cannot retweet anything on Twitter. “Retweets will be banned across Whitehall departments unless cleared by the government’s communications chief,” according to another document seen by Politico.

The queen’s state funeral will take place 10 days after death, with a service at Westminster Abbey before she is buried in Windsor Castle’s King George VI Memorial Chapel.

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