King Charles III ascended to the royal throne after his mother Queen Elizabeth II‘s death in September 2022. But after his reign began, the monarch was diagnosed with cancer, nearly three weeks after he underwent prostate surgery.

“During The King’s recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted. Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer,” a statement from Buckingham Palace read at the time. “His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties. Throughout this period, His Majesty will continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual.”

Days after Queen Elizabeth’s death on September 8, 2022, former Royal Protection Officer Simon Morgan spoke with Today, explaining, “Unfortunately, as of tomorrow morning, planning for [Charles’ funeral proceedings] Operation Menai Bridge will start in earnest.”

He added, “Even the King said in his acceptance that he will take this role for as long as life allows him to. He is 73 years of age, it’s got to be in the back of your mind, and from the police, we’ve got to start planning again for the future.”

In Touch takes a look at Operation Menai Bridge, the plan in place for after his death, and how it will unfold when King Charles dies.

Camilla, Queen Consort and King Charles III
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Why Is It Called Operation Menai Bridge?

Operation Menai Bridge is the code name for the plans in place after King Charles’ death. Its name refers to a suspension bridge spanning the Menai Strait between the island of Anglesey and the mainland of Wales.

Code names for royal funeral plans are common in the British monarchy. According to The Independent, code names were initially used to prevent Buckingham Palace switchboard operators from learning of the news of one’s death and the possibility of it leaking to the press before an official announcement can be made.

The 10-day plan Operation London Bridge was the code name used for Queen Elizabeth II, while other code names included Hyde Park Corner for the death of King George VI; Operation Tay Bridge for Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother; and Operation Forth Bridge for Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

How Will Operation Menai Bridge Unfold?

While details are kept mostly under wraps, The Daily Beast was told in April 2024 that King Charles’ funeral plans are being regularly updated and that there is a document reviewing what went well after Her Majesty’s death; however, the Cabinet Office declined to comment (a standard practice). Operation Menai Bridge is expected to play out similarly to Operation London Bridge following the Queen’s death.

After Charles dies, Prince William — the heir apparent to the British throne and Charles’ elder son — is next in line to become king. His wife, Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, would become queen consort.

Prince William and Kate Middleton
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Like Queen Elizabeth’s death, according to documents obtained by Politico in 2021, the prime minister would be informed of the news by the monarch’s private secretary. Others who would be immediately told include the cabinet secretary and the Privy Council Office as well as senior ministers and officials.

An “official notification” to alert the public would then be issued, and flags at Whitehall are expected to be lowered to half-mast. Per Politico, the goal is for this process to take only 10 minutes.

The new king would deliver a broadcast to the nation, much like Charles did when his mother died, and it is expected the former king will lie in state in the Palace of Westminster as he is mourned. Charles is also expected to be laid to rest in the royal vault in King George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle.

What Is Expected to Happen on Social Media?

In Politico‘s 2021 report on Operation London Bridge, social media now apparently plays a big part in the announcement of a royal death. The royal family’s website will reportedly change to a black holding page with a short statement confirming the death, and the U.K. government website will display a black banner. Content that is not urgent will be held from publication.

A source told The Daily Beast in April 2024, “Of course they are looking at every aspect of Menai Bridge. The queen’s funeral went like clockwork and set a high bar. It’s not an emotional thing, it’s a job, one taken very seriously, and understandably no-one plans to get caught out.”

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