Furious Palace aides hunt leaker of Queen's funeral plans

Furious Palace aides hunt leaker of Queen's funeral plans
Furious Palace aides hunt leaker of Queen's funeral plans

Furious palace aides are hunting for the source behind the 'deeply disturbing' leak of top secret plans that are to be enacted when the Queen dies.

The details of 'Operation London Bridge' including ministerial protocols and funeral arrangements were published yesterday morning in a move described by Whitehall insiders as 'concerning, unnecessary and upsetting'.

The plans for the huge operation were only shared with a small group of people and reveals that all Whitehall flags must be lowered to half mast within ten minutes followed by a TV address and UK tour by Prince Charles and a pre-planned memorial service at St Paul's Cathedral for ministers that will be made to look 'spontaneous'.  

Their exposure has provoked fury at Buckingham Palace, with sources saying there is now a 'major appetite' to discover who the mole is what their motivation was.

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'It is deeply disturbing that such private information, which is not only deeply personal to the Queen but also has widespread security implications, has been revealed,' a royal source told The Mirror.

It is believed the plans were leaked after being updated during the pandemic.

Whitehall bosses are also believed to be on the warpath to track down the source and could narrow down the possible culprits by examining which version of the documents were released.

A Cabinet Office source said: 'We will look into which version has emerged and be able to determine whether this dereliction of duty requires a formal government investigation. 

It sets up a potentially uncomfortable meeting for the Prime Minister tomorrow, as Boris and Carrie Johnson will be meeting Her Majesty this weekend at Balmoral despite courtiers’ mounting concerns over Covid. It will also be the first time their 16-month-old son, Wilfred, meets the monarch.

Buckingham Palace has declined to comment - but a royal insider said officials are 'not happy', adding: ’We are not talking about this. It is a matter for the Government.’ 

Royal expert Angela Levin said: 'I think it is awful and cruel to release the top-secret plans about the Queen's death. Where are our morals?' 

The ten-day plan was leaked to POLITICO after being updated during the coronavirus pandemic with the day she passes away being called 'D-Day'. 

It was first hatched in the 1960s but has never been published in such granular detail. But there is no suggestion that Her Majesty, 95, is in poor health and there are major questions about how documents so sensitive could be made public.

In more embarrassment for the Government, Operation Spring Tide, the closely-guarded plan for Prince Charles' accession to the throne, was also included in the leak. It does not include details of his coronation, which could be several months later. 

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The Cabinet Office could now launch a formal investigation within days into who leaked the paperwork, with Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, who previously worked for Prince William, expected to make the decision next week, according to The Mirror

Today's leak reveals the first person outside Buckingham Palace to be told the sad news will be the Prime Minister, who will be telephoned by the Queen's Private Secretary, before a 'call cascade' to members of the cabinet, members of the privy council and senior figures including in the Armed Forces, who plan gun salutes across the country hours later.

They will all be given the same scripted message: 'We have just been informed of the death of Her Majesty The Queen. Discretion is required'.

The royal household will then issue an 'official notification' delivering the sad news to the public via the TV and press including confirmation that Her Majesty's funeral will take place ten days later at Westminster Abbey before being buried in the family crypt next to her beloved Prince Philip at Windsor Castle.

Before that her body will lie in state for three days in the Palace of Westminster, which will be open 23-hours-a-day for members of the public to file through to pay their respects. 

Cabinet Office documents show that the Government is in a flap about ensuring that all flags are lowered to half-mast within ten minutes to avoid inflaming 'a wave of public anger'. One briefing suggests that contractors are being considered solely to do the job.

The Department for Transport has also warned that London will be 'full' for the first time in history, with trains and buses packed with people flooding into the capital to mourn the Queen and then line the streets for the funeral. Hotels and B&Bs will also be full.

The updated 'Operation London Bridge' also contains plans for social media and has been updated for the internet age.  

Any tweets and retweets by Government department social media accounts and ministers will have to be signed off by spin doctors first to keep an iron grip on messaging about the Queen at a sensitive time. And no public statements by senior MPs is permitted until the Prime Minister speaks first, probably in a Downing Street address in the hours after her death.

 

The top secret plans for the Queen's death, known as Operation London Bridge first started in the 1960s, has been updated since the pandemic began and now leaked via Whitehall

The top secret plans for the Queen's death, known as Operation London Bridge first started in the 1960s, has been updated since the pandemic began and now leaked via Whitehall

The coffin is carried into St George's Chapel during the funeral of Prince Philip. The Queen will also have the same journey after a state funeral at Westminster, before being buried in Windsor

The coffin is carried into St George's Chapel during the funeral of Prince Philip. The Queen will also have the same journey after a state funeral at Westminster, before being buried in Windsor

Operation Spring Tide, the closely-guarded plan for Prince Charles' accession to the throne, was also included in the leak. Charles will address the nation on the day his mother dies, the plan says

Operation Spring Tide, the closely-guarded plan for Prince Charles' accession to the throne, was also included in the leak. Charles will address the nation on the day his mother dies, the plan says

Operation Spring Tide: Plans for how Charles to accede to the throne

A leak of secret arrangements for when The Queen dies - codenamed London Bridge - has also shed light on how her son and heir Prince Charles will accede to the throne.

Details of Operation Spring Tide, revealed for the first time today, show how the Prince of Wales will be proclaimed as the new monarch before going on a tour of the United Kingdom before returning to London for his mother’s funeral. 

On the day of The Queen’s death, plans, published today by Politico, suggest Charles will first hold an audience with the Prime Minister as the nation goes into a period of mourning.

That same evening at 6pm, he will deliver a broadcast to the nation, expected to be partly to pay tribute to his mother’s years of public service.

At 10am the next morning the Accession Council, made up of senior ministers, civil servants and Commonwealth leaders, will meet at St. James’ Palace to proclaim King Charles the new sovereign.

Attendees are expected to wear morning dress with no decorations. A proclamation of King Charles’ accession will then be read at St. James’ Palace and the Royal Exchange in the City of London.

Charles will then hold another audience with the Prime Minister and other Cabinet members at 3.30pm.

Three days after the monarch’s death, King Charles will receive the motion of condolence at Westminster Hall.

After this he will embark on a tour of the United Kingdom, visiting all three devolved nations where he will attend services.

Charles will start his tour in Scotland, visiting the devolved parliament and a service at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.

The next day he will move onto Northern Ireland to receive another motion of condolence at Hillsborough Castle, before a service at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.

During the King’s time outside of London, the government will go into overdrive for preparing The Queen’s funeral, practising the procession through Westminster and also details of the service.

The King will make the final stop of his tour in Wales with a visit to the Welsh parliament and a service at Liandaff Cathedral in Cardiff.

He will arrive back in London ahead of the tenth day since the monarch’s death, when the state funeral is planned to take place. The Queen’s burial in Windsor Castle will take place later.

The natural progression after this is for King Charles to hold his coronation. This detail was however not included in the

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