Prince Charles is 68 and next in line to the British throne. No one is expecting him to die any time soon, but what would happen if he did? Certainly all confident bets are on either the Queen or Prince Philip meeting the Grim Reaper way before Charles does, which would make the Prince’s death all the more shocking. Princess Diana’s death gave the world a glimpse into what might happen in the UK if a major Royal were to die. London’s streets were lined with mourners, flowers piled up outside palace gates and questions were asked.
If Prince Charles passed away right now, a well-planned series of events would play out. Even though his death would be a surprise, the UK already has a plan to deal with his funeral, mourning process and the inevitable crowds of people and visiting dignitaries. Intriguingly, there are top-secret plans for all Royal deaths. Each Royal family member’s funeral has its own secret code and set of plans in place. So while no one truly knows how the public will react, we do know how the media channels will cover the news, the next steps after he dies and even the top-secret code name for the nation’s plans. Which turned out to be not so top-secret after all. Here are 15 things that would happen if Prince Charles died now.
15. A Nation of Tea Drinkers Will Cripple The Power Grid
Whenever British people suffer a tragic event, the first thing they do is switch the kettle on. Nothing calms the nerves like a good old-fashioned British cup of tea. It’s a stereotype for a good reason. This activity alone is enough to cripple the National Grid and see power stations struggle to cope with demand. But after they’ve made their tea, the nation will then sit down and switch on the television to see the coverage and reactions from around the world. When Princess Diana died, the demand on the electricity supply soared as millions of people all switched on their appliances at once.
14. The Big Bang Theory Will Go Off The Air
British TV channels have many plans in place for when a key member of the Royal family dies. The first thing to go will involve comedy shows. As the nation is in mourning, these programs will be deemed inappropriate. Although the BBC famously used Diana’s death as a trial run for the plans it had for when the Queen dies, it didn’t quite go as they had hoped. All programs were taken off the air and the decision saw the broadcaster receiving thousands of complaints. The reason? People still wanted to watch their favorite shows. Someone may have died, but don’t get in the way of the Brits and their serial dramas.
13. Prince William Will Be Next…
After Prince Charles’ death, Prince William will automatically become next in line to the throne. Something he might not be too happy about. Obviously he’ll be devastated over the death of his father, but his brother Harry recently let slip that no one in the family is keen to be king. In a magazine interview he said’ “Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don’t think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time.” The revealing quote gives a bit of insight into life behind the palace gates and the weight of responsibility the Royals carry.
12. The World Would Be Shocked
There’s no getting around it. There are just some Royals that everyone is expecting to hear bad news about any day now. At 91, people think the Queen could leave us any day now and at the ripe old age of 96, Prince Philip’s obituaries must be updated daily. But at 68 years old, if Prince Charles was to die now, the world would be suitably shocked. And just as when the news of Princess Diana’s death hit the headlines, the world would start asking questions. Conspiracy theories would start and a whole world of Reddit rumors would spiral out of control.
11. All The Hashtags
When any famous person starts trending on Twitter, your first thoughts are, ‘Oh god, they haven’t died, have they?’ With good reason. Most people tend to experience their finest hashtag hour after death. All the Prince Charles hashtags will be on. #RIPPrinceCharles #PrinceOfWales #AbolishTheMonarchy and many more. The cheeky scamps in the UK may even start to find some dark humor in between the sadness. A sarcastic bunch at the best of times, we’re certain it won’t be long before you spot some lolz sneaking their way onto Twitter and bringing some smiles to a sad occasion.
10. The Funeral Already Has A Secret Code Name
Imagine knowing that your own funeral will not only be a huge and monumental occasion – but that it has a top-secret code name as well. These cryptic code names are given out for all big funerals – including the Queen’s, the Prime Minister or anyone else of great importance. It allows organizations such as the police, military and diplomats to plan the funerals without the general public knowing about it. They even hold regular meetings to make changes to plans and update the details. Meetings are held several times a year just to update the Queen’s funeral plans. The codename for Prince Charles’ funeral? Operation Menai Bridge.
9. The UK Will Fall Completely Silent
To honour the death of Prince Charles, there will be several times that the UK will fall completely silent. Whether it’s a minute’s silence in the days before the funeral or a period of observed silence during Prince Charles’ funeral, or both, there will definitely be a moment where the nation can come together and grieve as one. The silence is a chance for reflection, prayer or contemplation. You’ll see people stop whatever they are doing (where possible) to observe the silence. Heads bowed, everyone will choose to remember Prince Charles in their own way. Though there will also be several official days of mourning after the funeral, but life for most people will continue as normal.
8. World Leaders Will Travel To The UK
All the major world leaders will attend Prince Charles’ funeral to pay their respects. The sheer number of important figures all congregating in the same place will spark a massive security operation. This is just one of the reasons the police and army use secret code names to discuss the plans. In addition to the world leaders, journalists and broadcasters will also be sent to cover the funeral and provide coverage for their home country. With so many people arriving in London, police, army and security guards will be on round-the-clock duty to keep everyone safe from harm.
7. Everyone Gets A Day Off
Other than people involved in the funeral proceedings, almost everyone in Great Britain will get a day off work. Technically, this will be marked as a day of mourning, but many people may choose to spend the day enjoying themselves, rather than stay indoors watching the funeral on television. Some royalists may choose to make the journey to London to pay their respects. Expect to see more hashtag action, with British social media fans using Twitter to show the world what they did on their unexpected day off work. Whenever an extra day off work like this happens, the British economy loses up to £6 billion. That’s a really expensive day out of the office.
6. Prince Charles’ Death Would Be Announced Mid-Flight
When you settle in for a long haul flight, you prepare to be cut off from the world for 8 or 9 hours. No social media, no headlines, just your in-flight movies and meals to entertain you until your plane wheels hit the runway. If Prince Charles dies while you’re in the air, you could hear about it from your pilot – if you’re flying from or to a UK (or Commonwealth) airport. Pilots definitely have to deliver the news to passengers if the Queen dies, and it seems likely – given Prince Charles’ high ranking status, that they’d share the news of his death too.
5. Suicide and Self Harm Rates Will Spike
Intense grief can have unexpected effects. While many people have never met Prince Charles, he’s been a familiar figure in their lives, possibly since birth. They’ve seen his marriages and watched his family grow. They’ve seen him suffer tragedy and live through joy. They may feel – just as they did with Princess Diana, like they have a connection to him. Or his death may unleash some powerful feelings kept buried. After the death of Princess Diana, the public’s grief was so intense that there was a dramatic rise in the number of suicides and self-harm. Researchers say an alarming 65% increase in self-harm was reported in the week after her death and there was a 33% rise in suicides.
4. The Tributes Will Flood In and Souvenir Sales Will Soar
Around the world, newspapers and magazines will have pre-prepared obituaries, special editions, articles and interviews on file ready to publish. TV stations will run specials looking back at the Prince’s life. No doubt the already aired footage of Princess Diana will also be repeated and Royal trinket and souvenir sales will soar. If there’s a union jack flag on it, expect prices to rise. Cynical types will be buying up stock of anything with Prince Charles on it – possibly to stow away for a few years so they can make a healthy profit on eBay in a few years’ time.
3. Prince William and Harry Will Become Orphans
The princes were just young boys when Princess Diana died, and Prince Charles has been their only parent since they were 12 and 15. Losing a parent is always hard, but losing two leaves you left to face life’s challenges alone. With all the added responsibilities the men face, they will miss the experience and stable guiding hand that Prince Charles could provide. While they’ll have the support of the Royal household and Camilla to still turn to, it will be a deeply sad time for the Royal princes, which is bound to remind them of the death of their mother.
2. The Monarchy Could Be Abolished
Many sources suggest that it will be the Queen’s death that sparks the abolishment of the monarchy. But in truth, it could be any big change in the Royal household that tumbles the monarchy, there are already plans, petitions and calls for the monarchy to be abolished – but even the most outspoken anti-royalists are currently holding off until the Queen dies. However, could the death of Prince Charles bring things to a head and force the government to hold a referendum? The last time the UK held a referendum they voted in favor of Brexit – and look how that turned out.
1. The BBC will activate their ‘RATS’
Some pretty ancient protocols will set in motion and the BBC will activate their ‘RATS’ – Yes, you read that right – the BBC has a Radio Alert Transmission System (RATS) which will broadcast solemn music, details of the death (or ill health) of Prince Charles, along with some pre-recorded radio material about the prince, his work and his life. The RATS comes with a strict BBC protocol that any Royal death won’t be officially announced until the body has returned to Buckingham Palace, which means almost all broadcasters will break the news first. It’s also worth mentioning that RATS is often referred to as “Royal about to snuff it” in many BBC offices.
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