The Big Ben clock in London

 

Written by Jacob Terranova

 

A while back we talked about England’s Dying Matters Awareness Week. It’s a week that promotes a healthy discussion of death and awareness for different funeral options. It’s also a week that encourages preplanning funeral arrangements.

 

As it turns out, even the Queen of England has preplanned for a funeral. While researching Dying Matters Awareness Week, I came across an interesting article from The Guardian, titled London Bridge is Down: The Secret Plan for the Days After the Queen’s Death.

 

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London Bridge is Down

Because the Queen has been symbolic for so many countries and for so long, her passing will be felt around the world. That’s why the palace has a plan in place. It’s called London Bridge is Down. And it dates back to the 1960s.

 

The article outlines the massive undertaking and plan in place. It will start with a newsflash announcement that goes out to the world. The article also notes that “footman in mourning clothes will emerge from a door at Buckingham Palace, cross the dull pink gravel and pin a black-edged notice to the gates. While he does this, the palace website will be transformed into a [somber], single page, showing the same text on a dark background.”

 

The BBC also will use their emergency Cold War-era alarm system called “RATS” (which is short for radio alert transmission system) to alert people. According to The Guardian, radio stations already have “prepared music lists made up of “Mood 2” (sad) or “Mood 1” (saddest) songs to reach for in times of sudden mourning.”

 

England even has plans in place no matter where in the world Queen Elizabeth might be. The Royal Air Force has a jet ready, equipped with the official royal undertaker’s coffin. According to the article, “in every scenario, the Queen’s body returns to the throne room in Buckingham Palace.”

 

To read the full article, along with all the intricate details of preplanning (the article states there will be thousands of final preparations) involved for the funeral, click here.

 

Lack of Preplanning in America

In contrast, America lacks a national Dying Matters Awareness campaign. And preplanning funeral arrangements and talking about death is still something of a taboo.

 

There are a lot of reasons cited for this. For one, death is a hard topic to discuss, especially with those we are closest with. Others have never planned a funeral before, and simply don’t realize the amount of work involved.

 

While there is an interest in preplanning, it doesn’t always equate to actually making arrangements with the funeral home. When the Funeral and Memorial Information Council (FAMIC) conducted a 2015 study, 69% of people said they would prefer to prearrange their own funeral, but only around 17% of people had actually made those arrangements.

 

Resources to Jumpstart the Preplanning Discussion

Interested in some blogs that discuss how your funeral home can create preplanning conversations with families in your community? Check out some of these helpful articles: