Ministers rehearse for Queen’s death for first time in secret exercise

     HEARTBREAK The Queen's death will be met with a mass outpouring of grief

Getty HEARTBREAK The Queen's death will be met with a mass outpouring of grief

In May, she underwent day surgery to remove cataracts but is otherwise described as being in robust health.

When Queen Elizabeth did pull out of the engagement at St Paul's, the spokeswoman said: "The Queen is feeling under the weather today and has decided not to attend this morning's service at St Paul's Cathedral marking the 200th anniversary of the Order of Michael and St George".

The meeting was scheduled before the 92-year-old head of state had to miss a service at St Paul's Cathedral because she was unwell.

United Kingdom ministers took part in a secret exercise to prepare for the aftermath of the Queen's death, according to a report by the Sunday Times.

The run-through, known as Castle Dove, saw Cabinet ministers and Whitehall officials discuss "D+1", the day after the monarch's death, DailyMail reports.

Upon the actual death of The Queen, the Prime Minister, if not already awake, will be woken and informed straight-away by civil servants that "London Bridge is down".

The Times reports the Castle Dove exercise was not carried out because of any particular concerns about her health.

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Queen Elizabeth II turned 92 in April and has been Monarch for 65 years.

A cabinet minister reportedly added: "Things have clearly been stepped up because of the ageing process". Political aides were allegedly banned from attending it to prevent leaks to the press. "Previously, it has only been officials", a source told the paper.

The momentousness may been more symbolic than practical.

The reason for such secrecy was unclear given that the precise nature of these proceedings, right down to the arcania of where copies of the new monarch's oath are to be filed, has been posted on the Privy Council website since February 2017. Representatives of the devolved administrations took part in the exercise.

Last year, The Guardian ran an exhaustive piece about how the information about her death will be conveyed to the government and the BBC, through the code phrase "London Bridge is down".

Prince Charles will make an early visit to Scotland and Wales in the days and weeks after he becomes King, the newspaper claimed.

Meanwhile, the Queen is said to be due for surgery on her knees but is refusing the operation.

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