The Prince and Princess of Wales have attended a special gathering of many of the workers who planned and executed the national events marking the death of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8.
On Thursday, they met operational staff including those who organized the memorials at Windsor Castle as well as security and surveillance specialists.
Plans for the death of Queen Elizabeth II have been regularly updated since the 1960s, with successive generations of staff preparing for any eventuality under the framework known as “Operation London Bridge.”
This was the codename for the arrangements that would be immediately deployed upon the queen’s death. The plans took into account wherever the queen might be when she died, including all her principle residences. She no longer undertook foreign travel.
When she was told that a member of staff had been working on the plans for over a decade, Kate was moved to respond: “Oh really? The reality of it must be very different in a sense. It’s time specific isn’t it.”
Prince William then raised whether the queen’s dying at Balmoral Castle in the Scottish highlands had caused any difficulties for the organizers.
“Did the Balmoral element make it complicated for you guys?” he said, adding that “someone told me that was the least planned-for plan of them all.”
For members of the royal family, the queen’s death occurring in Scotland made it difficult for them to reach her bedside quickly.
William, alongside other senior members of the royal family including Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, as well as Prince Andrew, arrived in Aberdeen from London by plane in the afternoon.
It has been reported that by the time the family group reached the castle that the monarch had died, with her children, King Charles and Princess Anne by her side.
After discussing some of the arrangements, William and Kate then went on to meet a number of the Windsor surveillance team where the princess commented that Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4, had been aware of a number of the arrangements put in place before the queen was buried at the castle.
“The children are the beady-eyed ones!” she explained.
“They said ‘I think I’ve just seen a drone’… and ‘why are there so many carparks popping up.'”
The Wales family, it is reported, recently moved into Adelaide Cottage on the Windsor estate, where the children recently started attending the nearby Lambrook school.
“It was seamless,” William told a group of the volunteers and organizers earlier in the day, “you could feel it. We obviously drove backwards and forwards quite a lot past the long walk and it was busy.”
It is estimated that over 100,000 peopl went to Windsor after the queen’s death. A large number lined the castle’s long-walk to watch as the funeral cortege processed toward St George’s Chapel where she is now buried.
After a committal service attended by members of the royal family and high-profile guests after the state funeral at Westminster Abbey, the monarch’s coffin was placed in the vault of the King George VI Memorial Chapel alongside her parents and husband, Prince Philip, who died in April of last year.
The chapel is a small space built onto the side of St George’s Chapel, where monarchs have been buried for generations. King Henry VIII is buried elsewhere in the chapel, so is King George III, and Elizabeth II’s grandfather, King George V.
A black marble tombstone containing the names of King George VI, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip has been installed in the memorial chapel, which will be available for the public to view when Windsor Castle re-opens on September 29.
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