After nearly 66 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II is the longest reigning monarch in British history and has been a constant and calming force amidst the fast-paced changes their country has faced, making it even more inconceivable to think about what happens when she dies. Since Buckingham Palace doesn’t shy away from procedure, it’s no surprise there’s already a comprehensive plan in place for what happens after she passes, known as Operation London Bridge. On the day Queen Elizabeth II dies, her death will elicit a comprehensive plan that has been in place since the 1960s. What will happen when Her Majesty’s reign comes to an end and how will Britain mourn the loss? Here is what we know so far.








  • to reign – hold royal office; rule as monarch.
  • inconceivable – not capable of being imagined or grasped mentally; unbelievable
  • to abdicate – (of a monarch) renounce one’s throne
  • divorcee – a divorced person
  • to ascend (to sth) – move up to a higher social or professional rank.
  • Commonwealth – an international association consisting of the UK together with states that were previously part of the British Empire, and dependencies
  • to comprise – consist of; be made up of
  • secretive(of a person or an organization) inclined to conceal feelings and intentions or not to disclose information
  • intricate – very complicated or detailed
  • to convey sth – communicate (a message or information)
  •  to alert sb – warn (someone) of a danger or problem
  • to toll – (of a bell) announce or mark (the time, a service, or a person’s death)
  • to pass – to die
  • sceptre – an ornamented staff carried by rulers on ceremonial occasions as a symbol of sovereignty
  • understatement – the presentation of something as being smaller or less good or important than it really is
  • consort – a wife, husband, or companion, in particular the spouse of a reigning monarch


Watch and listen

Answer the questions below.

  • What happened in 1936? (0:33)
  • How many countries comprise the Commonwealth? (1:15)
  • What is operation London Bridge? (1:30)
  • What will happen if the Queen dies outside London? (3:15)
  • What happens on day 12, the final day of the plan? (5:00)

Practice Makes Perfect

Fill in the blanks with the correct form of the verb in (brackets) at the end of the line. Go to Vogue to find out more.

Late last week, The Guardian 1. ________ (publish) a fascinating piece that examined what exactly will happen when Queen Elizabeth II dies. Written and meticulously researched by Sam Knight, the article quickly made the rounds on social media. And while it dealt largely with the existential crisis that England is likely 2.  ________ (face), it was also chock-full of smaller details. Below, the 12 most interesting things we learned.

The secret code for when the Queen 3. ________ (die) is “London Bridge is down”

Most people predict that she 4. ________ (die) after a short illness

Heads of state will be the first 5. ________ (hear) the news

Then the news media 6. ________ (receive) an alert

There 7. ________ (be) special mechanisms in place at such institutions to communicate the news

Media outlets 8. ________ (prepare) for this day for years

Charles 9. ________ (proclaim) king the following day at 11:00 a.m.

But it’s not clear what 10. ________ (happen) with Australia

Her Majesty’s corgis may 11. ________ (involve)


1. published   2. to face   3. dies   4. will die   5. to hear   6. will receive   7. are   8. have been preparing   9. will be proclaimed   10. will happen   11. be involved


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