Queen's Death Will Kick Off 'Operation London Bridge,' Activity Not Seen Since Days of George VI
From muted bells to a mourning tour, preparations are taking shape for the eventual passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
What’s known as “Operation London Bridge” will begin when the long reign of the 95-year-old queen comes to its close, according to The U.S. Sun.
As part of that, companies making leather goods across England are now preparing to make what are known as muffles for church bells.
Such items were last made in 1952, when King George VI, Elizabeth’s father, died. Any of Britain’s 16,000 churches that still have the ones from 70 years ago are likely to have little more than rotted pieces of leather.
“We have spent a lot of time talking to the Royal Household and Lambeth Palace about the day the Monarch passes, which we hope will not be any time soon,” Central Council of Church Bell Ringers spokeswoman Vicki Chapman said, according to the Daily Mail.
Muffles fit over the clapper of a bell, deadening the sound when it hits the sides of the bell.
“Adding muffles makes bells sound mournful, more like a hum –- so they will sound like thud, thud, thud rather than dong, dong, dong. It is about paying due reverence to the service of the Monarch and commemorating her life,” she said.
Chris Woodcock, Lincoln’s civic ringing master, said churches are aware they may not have a long time to prepare.
“The majority of churches are rushing around trying to get enough of them,” he said.
Operation London Bridge covers the first 10 days between the death of the queen and the state funeral that will take place in Westminster Abbey, The Sun reported.
During that time, the queen’s coffin will have a lying-in-state public viewing.
Prince Charles will address Britain and then undergo a mourning tour.
A national moment of silence will be held, and at 6 p.m. on the first day of his reign, the prime minister will meet with King Charles, who will be the third of the name to wear the British crown.
On more prosaic levels, the Home Office will upgrade security while the Foreign Office will deal with any issues COVID-19 restrictions might cause high-ranking officials coming from abroad.
The queen recently announced she will not attend the Maundy Thursday service at St George’s Chapel, making Thursday the first time Prince Charles has taken her place there.
New details for ‘Operation London Bridge’ in the event of the Queen’s death have been revealed for churches across Britain. Plans for Her Majesty's passing have been updated.
Leatherworks will make more muffles for church bells that will toll for the head of state's death, it has been reported. Central Council of Church Bell Ringers spokeswoman Vicki Chapman told the Mail on Sunday : “We have spent a lot of time talking to the Royal Household and Lambeth Palace about the day the Monarch passes, which we hope will not be any time soon.
“Adding muffles makes bells sound mournful, more like a hum –so they will sound like thud, thud, thud rather than dong, dong, dong. It is about paying due reverence to the service of the Monarch and commemorating her life.”
Philip Pratt of Big Wilf's Bell Muffles near Bristol, added: “A lot of enquiries are coming in and we are taking on more and more orders.