Left-wing anti-monarchy newspaper the Guardian has today published an 8,000-word essay about the death of Queen Elizabeth II, predicting that her life will end while the current prime minister, Theresa May, is in office.
The piece, titled ‘Operation London Bridge: the secret plan for the days after the Queen’s death’, claims that some of the British public is in denial about the demise of the 90-year-old monarch but that her officials are not. Neither is the Guardian.
The essay’s author, Sam Knight, begins rather creepily: “In the plans that exist for the death of the Queen – and there are many versions, held by Buckingham Palace, the government and the BBC – most envisage that she will die after a short illness. Her family and doctors will be there.”
Knight then warms to his role as soothsayer, writing: “Her eyes will be closed and Charles will be king. His siblings will kiss his hands. The first official to deal with the news will be Sir Christopher Geidt, the Queen’s private secretary…Geidt will contact the prime minister. The last time a British monarch died, 65 years ago, the demise of George VI was conveyed in a code word, “Hyde Park Corner”, to Buckingham Palace, to prevent switchboard operators from finding out. For Elizabeth II, the plan for what happens next is known as “London Bridge.” The prime minister will be woken, if she is not already awake, and civil servants will say “London Bridge is down” on secure lines.”
Unless Knight knows that a woman other than Theresa May will be the British prime minister at some point in the future, his words can only be interpreted as suggesting that the Queen will die while May leads the government. She is on course to remain in charge until at least 2020, the next time a general election must take place. Given the sensitivity of the subject matter, this is either careless writing on Knight’s part or he knows something the rest of us do not.
Later, Knight gets out the crystal ball again, stating that veteran broadcaster David Dimbleby “is likely to be behind the BBC microphone” to commentate on the Queen’s funeral.
Dimbleby is almost 79 years old. How can Knight know Dimbleby will even be working when the Queen dies?
The Queen’s mother lived to be 101 and the Queen, 91 next month, shows little sign of scaling back her duties too dramatically after 65 years on the throne.
Perhaps Knight should have chosen his words a little more carefully.