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Operation Unicorn: What happens in the 10 days after Queen Elizabeth's death

As Britain undergoes a period of national mourning, here's a look at what will happen in the coming days leading up to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

LONDON, UK — The death of Queen Elizabeth II has triggered a series of carefully structured ceremonial and constitutional steps, as Britain undergoes a 10-day period of national mourning and heralds the reign of King Charles III.

Buckingham Palace said Friday that the specific date for the queen's funeral "will be confirmed in due course."

Details of the plans for the immediate aftermath of the queen's death, known as "London Bridge," were revealed by The Guardian in 2017.  In 2021, Politico reported that it obtained documents that further laid out the plans and detailed Prince Charles’ accession to the throne – reportedly named Operation Spring Tide. 

Because the queen died while at her summer home in Scotland, another plan code named "Operation Unicorn" will also be activated, Politico reported in 2021.  

It's believed that everything that's been pre-scheduled is tentative as King Charles III will get the final say on funeral plans. 

Here is a look at what will happen in the coming days

Friday, September 9 (Day 1) 

- King Charles III and his wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, traveled from Balmoral Castle in Scotland to London. 

- Noon local time (7 a.m. Eastern) - Church bells rang at Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral and across the country in honor of the queen. 

- Noon (7 a.m. Eastern)  - Parliament held a special session so lawmakers could pay tribute to the queen.

- 1 p.m. (8 a.m. Eastern)  - Gun salutes were fired in London’s Hyde Park and at military sites around the country, one round for reach of the 96 years of the queen’s life.

- Afternoon - The king meets with new Prime Minister Liz Truss.

- 6 p.m. (1 p.m. Eastern) - The king makes a televised address to the nation.

- 6 p.m. - A service of remembrance is held at St. Paul’s Cathedral for the queen.

Saturday, September 10 (Day 2) 

10 a.m. (5 a.m. Eastern) — Charles meets at St. James’s Palace with a group of senior officials known as the Accession Council and is officially proclaimed king.

11 a.m. (6 a.m. Eastern) — An official reads the proclamation aloud from a balcony at St. James's Palace. It is also read out in other locations across the U.K.

1 p.m. — Parliament holds a second day of tributes to the queen.

What else will happen in the next 10 days? 

- The queen’s body is moved from Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands to Edinburgh, where the coffin is likely to rest at Holyrood Palace before being moved to St. Giles' Cathedral so members of the public can pay their respects.

- The coffin will be transported by train or plane to London.

- The queen will then lie in state for several days in Parliament’s Westminster Hall, where the public will again be able to pay their respects.

- A state funeral at Westminster Abbey is due to be attended by leaders and dignitaries from around the world.

- After the funeral, the queen's coffin will make its final journey that afternoon to Windsor Castle and St. George's Chapel, according to the BBC. The queen's coffin will then be lowered into the royal vault. 

- The period of national mourning will end the day after the queen’s funeral.

Credit: AP
FILE - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II silhouetted during welcoming ceremonies at the airport in Barbados around March 8, 1989.

When will Charles' coronation take place? 

No date has been set for Charles' official coronation, but he officially became king upon the queen's death. The coronation might not take place for months. 

Queen Elizabeth II's coronation at Westminster Abbey took place more than a year after the death of her father, George VI. 

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