Cabinet Ministers and Whitehall Officials met for the first time this week for a secret exercise, apparently codenamed Castle Dove, to discuss D+1 – the day after Queen Elizabeth II’s death. It must be pointed out that the unprecedented exercise relates in no way to any specific concerns about the Monarch’s health.
According to The Sunday Times, the meeting, which is said to have focused on the day after The Queen’s death, was chaired by Theresa May’s Deputy, David Lidington, and attended by the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, the Leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom and Scottish Secretary, David Mundell, as well as a number of Whitehall officials.
A source was quoted by the Sunday Times as saying the meeting was “unprecedented” as it was the first time that Ministers had gathered in one room to discuss the subject and also things had stepped up “because of the ageing process.”
Operation London Bridge is the codename that refers to the plan for what will happen in the days immediately after the death of Her Majesty The Queen. Originally devised in the 1960s, the plan is updated continuously and involves planning from various Government departments, the Church of England, the Metropolitan Police, the Armed Forces, the Royal Parks of London and the Media.
The phrase “London Bridge is Down” was said to have been the way of letting the Prime Minister know that The Queen had died though through the years as the phrase has become publicly known, this is likely to have changed.
Funeral plans for members of The Royal Family generally have names of prominent bridges in the United Kingdom. The Queen Mother’s was Operation Tay Bridge, Prince Philip’s is Operation Forth Bridge and The Prince of Wales’s is Operation Menai Bridge.
The secret exercise happened at the Cabinet Office room, where the Government’s emergency committee COBRA meets. It was also reported that the Ministers look at plans on how to gather 600 members of the Privy Council to rubber-stamp The Queen’s successor.