Prince Philip's death announced to Prime Minister with 'Forth Bridge is down' coded message after Royal Family told

THE Prime Minister was told of Prince Philip's down with a coded message – "Forth Bridge is down".

After the Duke of Edinburgh's death was confirmed by the on-call doctor at Windsor, members of the family were called.

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The PM would have been next in line to be notified.

And upon hearing the code, Boris Johnson would have instantly known of Philip's death.

Finally, officials in relevant arms of Government would have been given the same message.

The British public were informed of the Duke's death just after midday yesterday.

It comes as:

  • The Queen was by her husband's side when he died after spending his final days in the sun
  • Her Majesty will be "lost" without Prince Philip as he was her "world", the Duke’s cousin says
  • Harry wants ‘nothing more’ than to be with the Queen – but it's not yet known if Meghan will fly back to the UK to join him
  • Boris Johnson is among the leading figures to pay tribute to ‘extraordinary’ Prince Philip
  • The Tower of London and Navy warships will lead a gun salute in honour of Prince Philip at noon today

A message issued by Buckingham Palace read: "It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband.

"The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss."

Royal plans surrounding the Duke's death are known as ‘Operation Forth Bridge’ — a nod to his status as the Duke of Edinburgh, where the landmark rail crossing is located.

Code names for royal deaths were initially introduced to prevent the news leaking before the official announcement.

Using code prevented Buckingham Palace switchboard operators learning of the news before it was made public.


However, most royal funeral plans have been so longstanding that the codenames have become common knowledge.

Operation Forth Bridge will follow a strict set of guidelines on everything from funeral plans to where Prince Philip will be laid to rest and the national mourning period.

The Duke was involved with the details of Operation Forth Bridge – and specifically asked for a minimum of fuss.

It's understood the Queen will sign off on plans for the funeral today.

She will be forced to choose just 30 attendees as a result of coronavirus restrictions.



Earlier arrangements would have seen thousands of people travel to London and Windsor for a military procession with Philip's coffin.

Those details included his coffin being moved from Windsor to St James’s Palace in London, before being carried through the streets on a gun carriage.

There were also instructions for a 26-mile cortege procession back to Windsor on the day, allowing mourners to line the streets and pay their final respects.

But under Step 2 of Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown, funeral services can only be attended by a maximum of 30 people.

Social distancing must be kept unless they live together or have formed a support bubble.

The Duke previously said he doesn't want a state funeral, it's reported.

Instead, he will be given a military funeral, with a private service held at St George’s Chapel in Windsor and burial in Frogmore Gardens.

The last state funeral for a member of the royal family took place in 1952 following the death of King George VI. The Queen’s father was laid to rest in St George’s Chapel.

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