This Person Of Power Will Be The First To Learn Of The Queen's Death

Queen Elizabeth II has made history as Great Britain's longest-reigning monarch. Her 70 years on the British throne were celebrated this year during the Platinum Jubilee, which featured Trooping the Colour, a Service of Thanksgiving, and the star-studded Platinum Party at the Palace, per the official royal website.

"I continue to be inspired by the goodwill shown to me, and hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved during the last seventy years," Queen Elizabeth said in a statement at the end of the festivities. 

Unfortunately, the monarch had to pull out of most of the Jubilee's events after experiencing "some discomfort" after standing on the royal balcony during Trooping the Colour. While other senior members of the royal family — including Prince Charles, Prince of Wales; Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; Prince William, Duke of Cambridge; and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge — were on hand to celebrate, the queen's absence was a reminder that she is getting older and the world will one day have to face the sad news of her death. 

Since she is such an important person, it is not surprising that there is a specific plan in place for how the news of Queen Elizabeth's passing will be spread. And one important person will be the first to be informed.

The British prime minister will be the first to find out about the queen's passing

When the sad day comes that Queen Elizabeth II passes away, the British prime minister will be the first person to hear the news. According to The Guardian, there is a plan in place – called "London Bridge" — that works out every detail of what needs to happen when the queen dies, including how people will be told. After receiving the news from the queen's doctor, the queen's private secretary will call the prime minister, waking them if necessary, and say the words, "London Bridge is down." Then the prime minister will presumably help set the rest of the operation into action.

The country is in a transition period with its leadership. Current U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed to step down from his position in July 2022 but will continue to carry out his duties until a replacement is found, per The New York Times.  The Conservative Party has chosen two candidates: former finance minister Rishi Sunak and foreign minister Liz Truss. In the latest polling, Truss was set to beat Sunak by 54 to 35, per NPR.

Prince Charles' coronation won't happen right away

Prince Charles has already been making plans for when he ascends to the throne after Queen Elizabeth's death, including slimming down the monarchy to just a few key senior royals (via the Daily Mail). 

As the royal family' website explains, when the queen dies, the Prince of Wales will need to swear an oath called the accession declaration. Afterwards, the proclamation will be read at certain locations, flags that have been at half-mast amid mourning will rise, and there will be a royal gun salute. His coronation, however, won't happen for months due to the mourning period and to prepare for the event, according to Town & Country

But as Catherine Mayer revealed in Time, Charles isn't counting down the days to wearing the crown. "He prefers not to focus on his accession, which, after all, means losing his mother," she wrote. "And far from itching to assume the crown, he is already feeling its weight and worrying about its impact on the job he has long been doing."