Official Queen death plans leak in potential security breach as probe launched

An inquiry is underway after sensitive information relating to the Queen was released.

Information about plans in place for when the Queen dies was leaked accidentally by the Welsh government when it was sent to a member of the public.

The permanent secretary to the Welsh Government Dr Andrew Goodall said: "Whilst the email did not contain any operational information, it was marked 'official sensitive' and should not have been shared.

"We take the issue of information and data security very seriously and this is now being investigated as a potential security breach.

"We are unable to comment further."

Plans around the death of the Queen – known as Operation London Bridge – have to be carefully prepared so leaks like the one being investigated by the Welsh government are somewhat frowned upon.

Issues over security are important too, and while Dr Goodall insists no operational information was leaked, investigations are underway to get to the bottom of how the sensitive material was shared.

What was in the Welsh government leak?

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The "potential security breach" was from a pamphlet marked 'official sensitive'.

BBC Wales saw emails from a top UK government civil servant in 2021, who was concerned the secret information had been leaked to a news website.

A senior civil servant also asked for "bespoke guidance" on matters of security to be shared between the governments in the UK.

What happens when the Queen dies?

Buckingham Palace was said to be furious about a leak in September 2021 that revealed the plans for 'Operation London Bridge', the plans for when the Queen dies.

Politico got hold of the documents that revealed a carefully planned process for when Britain's longest-reigning monarch, celebrating her Platinum Jubilee this year, hands over the crown to Prince Charles.

On the day itself, the Prime Minister will be informed, though it is not confirmed if this will be done using the code 'London Bridge has fallen', a rumour around since the 1960s.

The public will then be told through an alert on the Press Association wire, allowing news agencies to pick up the story.

There will then be a speech by the PM and an address to the public by the new King Charles.

Day one

The day after the Queen dies, Charles will be officially proclaimed king when the accession council meets – this includes senior government figures.

The PM and senior government members will be asked to attend and no decorations will be worn.

Tributes will be given in the House of Commons and parliamentary business will be then suspended for 10 days.

Day two

The Queen's coffin will return to Buckingham Palace. If she dies at Sandringham the PM and cabinet ministers will meet her coffin at St Pancras station.

Two alternative operations are available depending on where the Queen dies:

  • Operation Unicorn – the Queen dies at Balmoral and her body will be carried to London by train.
  • Operation Overstudy – the Queen dies at Balmoral and her body will be carried to London by plane.

Day three

King Charles will begin a tour of the UK, starting with a visit to the Scottish Parliament.

Day four

The new King will arrive in Northern Ireland.

Day five

A procession will take the coffin from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster, where there will be a service.

Days six to nine

From days six to nine, the Queen will lie in state in Westminster Hall, which will be open 23 hours a day.

On day seven, King Charles will travel to Wales for a service in Cardiff.

Day ten

The funeral will take place and will be held at Westminster Abbey, with two minutes' silence to be held at midday.

The Queen's body will be taken to Windsor Castle, where she will be buried in the King George VI Memorial Chapel.

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