Operation Forth Bridge maps out procedure in event of Prince Philip’s death

Prince Philip: Royal expert details a 'worrying sign'

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Should the Duke, 99, die while hospitalised at King Edward VII’s hospital, Operation Forth Bridge will be triggered. The procedures for the Duke’s potential death is named after a feature of Edinburgh, and lays out what must happen in regards to announcements and burials.

The BBC and Press Association will be given an announcement first by Buckingham Palace should Philip die.

Protocol holds the Lord Chamberlain will consult with the Prime Minister, before they seek Queen Elizabeth II’s specific wishes over how the death is announced.

If the death occurs overnight then it would be announced at 8am the next day, otherwise it would come soon after the Duke dies.

The Royal Family rarely makes “death bed’ announcements, usually reserving the news until after the Queen approves, but on some occasions the public is forewarned via Palace bulletin such as when Queen Victoria and George V were close to death.

The Duke is ranked as “category 1” by the BBC, a list which emphasises how important a royal’s death is, along with the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William.

Should Philip die, newsreaders must wear black, alongside any other presenters who are on the television, as a sign of respect.

Commercial radio stations will flash blue “obit lights” in the event of a national emergency or a “category 1” royals death, telling presenters to switch to inoffensive music and to prepare for a sombre broadcast

Chris Price, BBC Radio producer, said to the Huffington Post in 2011: “If you ever hear Haunted Dancehall (Nursery Remix) by Sabres of Paradise on daytime Radio 1, turn the TV on. Something terrible has just happened.”

Once it is confirmed Philip had died, the country will instantly enter a period of national mourning which will last until his funeral, according to The Greater London Lieutenancy.

During this time, flags will be lowered to half-mast, with the exception of the Royal Standard flag, which flies above Buckingham Palace, and MPs will wear black armbands (8.25cm wide) on their left arm and, in the case of male members, black ties.

Local governments will also be asked to give “careful thought”on whether to carry out official business.

Members of the Royal Family, royal households, and representatives of the royal family will also be required to wear dark colours and mourning bands throughout this period.

As the Queen’s Consort, Philip would be entitled to a full state funeral, with the Duke “lying in state” at Westminster Abbey before being buried in St George’s Chapel.

Philip is said to be against the “fuss” of a large scale funeral, and would prefer a private service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, in the style of a military funeral, followed by burial at Frogmore Gardens.

Sources close to the Duke say he has been heavily involved with plans for his funeral, after experiencing multiple health scares in recent years.

The Duke was last admitted to hospital in December 2019, with Palace sources stressing it was a “precautionary measure”.

William shared the Duke is in good spirits and is well while staying in hospital.

During a visit to a coronavirus vaccination centre in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, on Monday, he said: “Yes, he’s OK. They’re keeping an eye on him.”

On Friday, Buckingham Palace said Philip would remain in hospital into this week as doctors were acting with an “abundance of caution”.

Palace sources have also confirmed the Duke’s stay in hospital is not coronavirus-related.

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