What Buckingham Palace Wants Mourners To Know

"London Bridge has fallen," is the code phrase that was shared in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II's heartbreaking death. The phrase was uttered on secured lines as the news passed down the information chain of command — meanwhile, the general public had no idea there was a new monarch inheriting the throne.

Plans about what happened when Queen Elizabeth II died were made when she initially ascended the throne. "From the moment the queen became monarch, Whitehall started the planning process about what would happen when she died," professor of British and Commonwealth History at the University of London, Philip Murphy, told The New York Times. In 2017, The Guardian laid out the details of "Operation London Bridge," including the chain of command and the fact that at the BBC, the "radio alert transmission system" will be switched on. The system is described as a "Cold War-era alarm designed to withstand an attack on the nation's infrastructure." 

This plan also dictated that BBC's anchors needed to change into all black and that the announcement of the queen's death would begin with: "This is the BBC from London." Operation London Bridge also dictates etiquette, including what the royal family and staff members should wear during the set mourning period. In terms of how the public should mourn, directions were less clear. Tributes have been pouring in, digitally and physically, from around the globe. The Daily Mail reports flowers, notes, Union Jacks, and other tributes numbering in the thousands have been placed outside royal residences around Britain and the Commonwealth.

Here's where Buckingham Palace wants mourners to go to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

After news of Queen Elizabeth's death became public, The New York Times reported that Operation London Bridge called for flags to be lowered to half-mast from the time of the announcement of her death until "8 a.m. on the morning after the final day of royal mourning." King Charles III announced that royal mourning would last until "seven days after the queen's funeral," the details of which have yet to be announced.

Royal residences — Buckingham Palace included — will be closed to the public during the mourning period as well. Outside, however, a large black and gray Union Jack flag had been attached to the right side of the palace gates while "[t]earful mourners, many dressed all in black, congregated beside hundreds of colorful bouquets and messages," at the central London palace," per the Daily Mail. As the Daily Mail reports, most appeared to have been left either overnight or this morning.

To help organize the outpouring of support from the public, King Charles III and Buckingham Palace have asked the public to leave "floral tributes at dedicated sites in The Greek Park or Hyde Park," per The New York Times. They also stated that any tribute placed at Buckingham Palace will be moved to these designated mourning spots. The palace announced there will be no physical mourning books at the royal residences, giving mourners the option to instead leave messages on the Royal website.