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


PRINCE PHILIP is spending his seventh night in hospital after being sent by Buckingham Palace doctors – but plans are already in place should the worst happen and the Duke of Edinburgh die.

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 of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle speaks to Assistant Colonel Commandant, Major General Tom Copinger-Symeas during a ceremony for the transfer of the Colonel-in-Chief of the Rifles from the Duke to the Duchess of Cornwall, who will conclude the ceremony from Highgrove House. 22-Jul-2020

Prince Philip news: Operation Forth Bridge lays out the procedure should the Duke die (Image: PA)

Police officers guard the King Edward VII Hospital, where Britain's 99-year-old Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, continues to receive medical care in London, England, on February 21, 2021.

Prince Philip news: News of the Duke’s death would be first relayed to the Queen, before going to the BBC and Press Association (Image: PA)

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.”

The Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle arrives for a ceremony for the transfer of the Colonel-in-Chief of the Rifles from the Duke to the Duchess of Cornwall, who will conclude the ceremony from Highgrove House 22-Jul-2020

Prince Philip news: As a ‘Category 1’ royal, Philkip’s death will trigger national mourning and special broadcasts (Image: PA)

Prince Philip news: King Edward VII's hospital

Prince Philip news: Philip is said to favour a smaller private service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, in the style of a military funeral, should he die (Image: PA)

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”.

Prince Philip news:

Prince Philip news: Prince William reported the Duke is ‘ok’ during a visit to a Norfolk vaccine centre (Image: EXPRESS)

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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