The long read: She is venerated all over the world. She has outlived 12 US chairpeople. She stands for stability and prescribe. But her realm is in turmoil, and her themes are in denial that her predominate will ever goal. Thats why the palace has a plan.
In the plans that exist for the death of the Queen- and there are many versions, held a total of Buckingham Palace, the government and the BBC- most envisage that she will die after a short illness. Her family and doctors “il be there”. When the Queen Mother passed away on the afternoon of Easter Saturday, in 2002, at the Royal Lodge in Windsor, she had time to telephone friends to say goodbye, and to give away some of her mares. In these last hours, the Queen’s senior doctor, a gastroenterologist reputation Professor Huw Thomas, is under the responsibility. He will look after his case, controller access to her room and consider what information should be made public. The bail between monarch and themes is a strange and principally unknowable situation. A nation’s life becomes a person’s, and then the cord must break.
There will be bulletins from the palace- not many, but enough.” The Queen is suffering from enormous physical prostration, accompanied by indications which effect much feeling ,” announced Sir James Reid, Queen Victoria’s physician, two days before her extinction in 1901.” The King’s life is moving peacefully towards its close ,” was the final notice issued by George V’s doctor, Lord Dawson, at 9.30 pm on the night of 20 January 1936. Not long subsequentlies, Dawson inserted the sovereign with 750 mg of morphine and a gram of cocaine- enough to kill him twice over- in order to ease the monarch’s suffering, and to have him expire in time for the printing press of the Times, which wheeled at midnight.
Her attentions will be closed and Charles will be king. His siblings will caress his hands. The first official to deal with the report will be Sir Christopher Geidt, the Queen’s private secretary, a former mediator who was given a second knighthood in 2014, in part for scheduling her succession.
Geidt will contact the prime minister. The last epoch a British monarch died, 65 years ago, the demise of George VI was conveyed in a system message, “Hyde Park Corner”, to Buckingham Palace, to prevent switchboard operators from finding out. For Elizabeth II, the plan for what happens next is known as “London Bridge.” The prime minister will be arouse, if she is not already awake, and civil servants will say ” London Bridge is down” on self-assured lines. From the Foreign Office’s Global Response Centre, at an undisclosed locating in the capital, the report will go out to the 15 governments outside the UK where the Queen is also the head of state, and the 36 other nations of the Commonwealth for whom she has dished as a symbolic figurehead- a face familiar in dreams and the untidy makes of a billion schoolchildren- since the dawn of the atomic age.
For a meter, she will be gone without our knowing it. The datum will jaunt like the compressional curve ahead of an shake, detectable simply by special paraphernalium. Governors general, envoys and prime ministers will learn firstly. Cupboards will be opened in search of pitch-black armbands, three-and-a-quarter inches wide, to be tattered on the left arm.
The rest of us will find out more quickly than before. On 6 February 1952, George VI was found by his attendant at Sandringham at 7.30 am. The BBC did not broadcast the word until 11.15 am, nearly four hours later. When Princess Diana died at 4am neighbourhood period at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris on 31 August 1997, writers accompanying the former foreign secretary, Robin Cook, on a visit to the Philippines knew within 15 minutes. For many years the BBC was told about royal deaths first, but its monopoly on broadcasting to the territory has gone now. When the Queen dies, the announcement will go out as a newsflash to the Press association and the rest of the world’s media simultaneously. At the same instantaneou, a footman in sorrowing robes will emerge from a doorway at Buckingham Palace, cross the dull pink gravel and pin a black-edged see to the entrances. While he does this, the palace website will be transformed into a sombre, single sheet, evidencing the same textbook on a dark background.
Screens will glow. There will be tweets. At the BBC, the “radio alert transmission system”( Rats ), will be activated- a cold war-era dismay designed to withstand an attack on the nation’s infrastructure. Rats, which is also sometimes referred to as” royal are due to snuff it “, is a near imaginary part of the intricate building of ritual and recitals for the death of major imperial personalities that the BBC has maintained since the 1930 s. Most staff have only ever seen it work in exams; many have never seen it work at all.” Whenever there is a strange noise in the newsroom, person ever expects,’ Is that the Rats ?’ Because we don’t know what it definitely sounds like ,” one regional reporter told me.
All news organisations will clamber to get films on breath and obituaries online. At the Guardian, the representative writer has a directory of prepared storeys pinned to his wall. The Times is said to have 11 epoches of coverage ready to go. At Sky News and ITN, which for years rehearsed the deaths among the Queen substituting the figure” Mrs Robinson”, announces will go out to royal experts who have already signed contracts to speak alone on those channels.” I am going to be sitting outside the doors of the Abbey on a hugely grown trestle table commentating to 300 million Americans about this ,” one told me.
For beings stuck in traffic, or with Heart FM on in the background, there will only be the subtlest of indications, at first, that something is going on.Britain’s commercial radio stations have a network of blue” obit lamps”, which is researched once a week and supposed to do now light up in the event of a national misfortune. When the report breakings, these suns will start flashing, to alert DJs to switch to the report in the next few minutes and to play inoffensive music in the meantime. Every depot, down to hospital radio, has prepared music inventories made up of” Mood 2″( sad) or” Mood 1″( saddest) chants to contact for in times of abrupt lament.” If you ever listen Haunted Dancehall( Nursery Remix) by Sabres of Paradise on daytime Radio 1, turn the Tv on ,” wrote Chris Price, a BBC radio producer, for the Huffington Post in 2011.” Something ghastly has just happened .”
Having proposals in place for the death of leading royals is a practice that attains some writers awkward.” There is one story which is deemed to be so much more important than others ,” one former Today programme producer to present to me. For 30 years, BBC news teams were hauled to work on quiet Sunday mornings to perform taunt storylines about the Queen mother choke on a fishbone. There was once a scenario about Princess Diana succumbing in a vehicle gate-crash on the M4.
These well-laid programs have not always facilitated. In 2002, when the Queen mother expired, the obit light-footeds didn’t come on because someone failed to push the button down properly. On the BBC, Peter Sissons, the ex-serviceman fasten, was criticized by wearing a maroon affiliation. Sissons was the main victims of a BBC policy change, issued after the September 11 assaults, to moderate its coverage and be reduced by” category one” imperials eligible for the full obituary procedure. The last word in Sissons’s ear before going on air were:” Don’t go overboard. She’s a very old woman who had to go some time .”
But there will be no extemporising with the Queen. The newsreaders will wear black clothings and black ties. Category one was shaped for her. Curriculum will stop. Networks will consolidate. BBC 1, 2 and 4 will be interrupted and revert mutely to their respective idents- training exercises class in village representatives hall, a swan waiting on a pond- before grouped together for the information. Listeners to Radio 4 and Radio 5 live will hear a specific formulation of words,” This is the BBC from London ,” which, intentionally or not, will summon a spirit of national emergency.
The main reason for recitals is to have words that are roughly approximate to the moment.” It is with the greatest mourning that we construct the following announcement ,” said John Snagge, the BBC presenter who informed the world of the death of George VI.( The news was echoed seven durations, every 15 instants, and then the BBC started silent for five hours ). Harmonizing to one former is chairman of BBC news, a very similar established of words will be used for the Queen. The rehearsals for her are different to the other members of the family, he excused. Parties become upset, and entertain the unthinkable oddness of her absence.” She is the only monarch that most of us have ever known ,” he said. The imperial touchstone will be issued on the screen. The national hymn will play. You will remember where you were.
When parties think of a contemporary royal fatality in Britain, they fantasize, inescapably, of Diana. The extend of the Queen will be monumental by comparison. It may not be as nakedly psychological, but its contact is likely to be wider, and its suggests more dramatic.” It will be quite fundamental ,” as one former courtier told me.
Part of the effect will come from the overwhelming heavines of things happening. The routine for modern royal burials is more or less familiar( Diana’s was based on “Tay Bridge”, the plan for the Queen Mother’s ). But the deaths among a British ruler, and the accession of a new head of state, is a ritual that is passing out of living remembrance: three of the Queen’s last four prime ministers were born after she came to the throne. When she succumbs, both houses of parliament will be recalled, beings will go home from handiwork early, and aircraft aviators will announce the news to their passengers. In the nine dates that follow( in London Bridge planning certificates, these are known as “D-day”, ” D +1″ and so on) “theres been” ritual decrees, a four-nation tour by the new ruler, bowdlerised television programming, and a diplomatic meet in London not interpreted since the death of Winston Churchill in 1965.
More overwhelming than any of this, though, there will be an almighty mental calculate for the field that she leaves behind. The Queen is Britain’s last living link with our former greatness- the nation’s id, its problematic self-regard- which continues to be defined by our victory in the second world war. One producing historian, who love most people I interviewed for this article declined to be referred, stressed that the farewell for this country’s longest-serving monarch is likely to be beautiful.” Oh, she will get everything ,” he said.” We were all told that the funeral of Churchill was the requiem for Britain as a great power. But actually it will really be over when she goes .”
Unlike the US presidency, say, empires countenance massive texts of meter- a century, in some cases- to grow entwined with an individual. The second Elizabethan age is likely to be remembered as a reign of uninterrupted national nosedive, and even, if she lives long enough and Scotland starts the union, as one of deterioration. Life and politics at the end of her pattern is likely to be unrecognisable from their grandeur and innocence at its beginning.” We don’t blame her for it ,” Philip Ziegler, the historian and royal biographer, told me.” We have rejected with her, so to speak .”
The obituary movies will remind us what a two countries she inherited. One bit of footage will be played again and again: from her 21 st birthday, in 1947, when Princess Elizabeth was on holiday with her parents in Cape Town. She was 6,000 miles from dwelling and comfortably within the sallow of the British Empire. The princess baby-sit at a counter with a microphone. The shadow of a tree plays on her shoulder. The camera adjusts three or four times as she talks, and on each occasion, she twitches momentarily, exposing tiny lights of aristocratic irritation.” I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service, and the services offered of our enormous imperial house to which we all belong ,” she says, enunciating vowels and a conception of the world that have both vanished.
It is not uncommon for a country to succumb to a position of negation as a long chapter in the course of history is about to end. When it became public that Queen Victoria was dying, at persons below the age of 82, a widow for half their own lives,” stunned agony … swept the two countries”, wrote her biographer, Lytton Strachey. In the minds of her themes, the queen’s mortality had become unimaginable; and with her collapse, everything was unexpectedly at risk, placed in the handwritings of an older and untrusted heir, Edward VII.” The wild waters are upon we are currently ,” wrote the American Henry James, who had endeavoured to London 30 times before.
The parallels with the unease that we will feel at the death of Elizabeth II are obvious, but without the consolation of Britain’s status in 1901 as the world’s most successful country.” We have to have narrations for royal happenings ,” the historian told me.” In the Victorian predominate, everything got better and better, and big and big. We certainly can’t tell that tale today .”
The result is a huge objection to even “ve been thinking about”- let alone talking or writing about- what will happen when the Queen dies. We avoid the subject as we avoid it in our “families “. It seems like good manners, but it is also anxiety. The reporting for this article implied dozens of interrogations with broadcasters, government officials, and varied palace personnel, various of whom have worked on London Bridge instantly. Almost all insisted on complete privacy.” This meeting never happened ,” I was told after one conversation in a gentleman’s association on Pall Mall. Buckingham Palace, meanwhile, has a plan of not provide comments on funeral arrangements for members of the royal family.
And yet this taboo, like much to do with the monarchy, is not entirely rational, and masks a parallel reality. The next great rupture in Britain’s national life has, in fact, been planned to the time. It involves matters of major public relevance, will be paid for by us, and is certainly be happening. Harmonizing to the Office of National Statistics, a British female who contacts the age of 91- as the Queen will in April- has an average life expectancy of four years and 3 month. The Queen is approaching the end of her predominate in times of maximum disquiet about Britain’s place in countries around the world, at a few moments when internal political frictions are close to breaking her realm apart. Her extinction will likewise release its own destabilising coerces: in the accession of Queen Camilla; in the optics of a new tycoon who is already an old person; and in the future of the Commonwealth, an invention mainly of her engender.( The Queen’s title of” Head of the Commonwealth” is not hereditary .) Australia’s prime minister and president of the opposition parties both want the country to become a republic.
Coping with the way these events fall is the next great challenge of the House of Windsor, the last European royal family to perform coronations and to persist- with the collusion of a willing public- in the sorcery of the whole firm. That is why the planning for the Queen’s death and its ceremonial aftermath is so extended. Succession is part of the job. It allows for tell to be affirmed. Queen Victoria had written down the substance of her coffin by 1875. The Queen Mother’s funeral was rehearsed for 22 years. Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, organized a wintertime and a summer menu for his funeral lunch. London Bridge is the Queen’s departure plan. “It’s history,” as one of her courtiers said. It will be 10 daytimes of affliction and sight in which, preferably like the dazzling mirror of the kingdom itself, the authorities concerned will revel in who we were and avoid the question of what we have become.
The idea is for nothing to be unforeseen. If the Queen dies abroad, a BAe 146 plane from the RAF’s No 32 squadron, known as the Royal Flight, will take off from Northolt, at the countries of the western hem of London, with a coffin on board. The royal morticians, Leverton& Sons, obstruct what they call a” first announce coffin” ready in case of royal emergencies. Both George V and George VI were buried in oak grown on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk. If the Queen expires there, her body will come to London by automobile after a day or two.
The most elaborated programs are for what happens if she passes away at Balmoral, where she invests three months of the year. This will trigger an initial ripple of Scottish custom. First, the Queen’s body will lie at rest in her smallest palace, at Holyroodhouse, in Edinburgh, where she is traditionally guarded by the Royal Company of Archers, who wear eagle plumages in their bonnets. Then the coffin is likely to be carried up the Royal Mile to St Giles’s cathedral, for a service of reception, before being put on board the Royal Train at Waverley station for a sad advancement down the east coast mainline. Crowds are expected at level crossings and on depot platforms the length of the country- from Musselburgh and Thirsk in the north, to Peterborough and Hatfield in the south- to shed flowers on the go qualify.( Another locomotive will follow behind, to clear debris from the ways .)” It’s actually very complicated ,” one transport official told me.