Inside the Royal Family's Secret Code-Word System

Because of COURSE they have a secret language.

It's fair to say that when you're part of the Royal Family, things are done a little differently. And even death is no exception.

So you won't be shocked to learn that each senior member has an assigned code name for when the eventual does happen, and the news needs to be broken between household members, family and the military before it becomes public knowledge.

When you're as major as the Queen, your funeral is also planned way before you die. Or in Her Majesty's case, 60 years and counting. Yep, Queen Elizabeth II has had her funeral laid out since the 1960s, and there's even several dress rehearsals every year to make sure everything runs smoothly when the time comes. How cheery.

If you're a fan of The Crown, you'll probably already be familiar with some of the code names that are used to break the news - which usually comes from a private secretary.

In one episode in season 4, we get a dramatized glimpse of Charles' near-death experience on a ski slope when an avalanche strikes, and hear his code name, "Operation Menai Bridge" for the first time, as he's presumed dead.

Menai Bridge is the name of a suspension bridge in Wales, and as Charles is the Prince of Wales, it makes sense.

But, every code name when it comes to death, is that of a bridge—mostly for simplicity.

Outside of that, there are a couple of other names on the palace radar, however. These are mostly used for Royal visits, holidays abroad, and generally keeping the family safe when discussing them over hackable radio systems.

So, do you know your Sharon from your Daphne? Your London Bridge from your Tay Bridge? let's take a look at the Royal Family's code names...

The Queen

london, united kingdom february 25 queen elizabeth ii talks with mi5 officers during a visit to the headquarters of mi5 at thames house on february 25, 2020 in london, england mi5 is the united kingdoms domestic counter intelligence and security agency photo by victoria jones wpa poolgetty images

The Queen has a number of code names, depending on the circumstances.

(Image credit: Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

As the most senior member of the Royal Family, Her Majesty the Queen has a few different code names, naturally.

When she's going out and about, it's of the upmost importance for the police and military to keep her safe (she's 94 after all!), and for that—she's known as Sharon.

While it may seem hilarious on the surface, using such an ordinary name deters anyone who may have hacked the radio waves looking for insider info on the royal. Generally, they'll just refer to her as 'S' though. Very Gossip Girl.

When it comes to death, the Queen has arguably the most powerful code name of all.

Operation London Bridge.

The Queen's private secretary will be the one responsible for informing people of importance and kicking planned protocol into action, by declaring "London Bridge is down."

Prince Philip

windsor, england july 22 prince philip, duke of edinburgh during the transfer of the colonel in chief of the rifles at windsor castle on july 22, 2020 in windsor, england the duke of edinburgh has been colonel in chief of the rifles since its formation in 2007 hrh served as colonel in chief of successive regiments which now make up the rifles since 1953 the duchess of cornwall was appointed royal colonel of 4th battalion the rifles in 2007 photo by samir hussein samir husseinwireimage

(Image credit: Samir Hussein/ Samir Hussein/WireImage)

The Duke of Edinburgh, AKA Prince Philip is still thriving at 99 years old. However, when he does pass away, the reference used for his funeral will be "Operation Forth Bridge."

The actual Forth Bridge is a bridge in Edinburgh, Scotland—and as he's the Duke of Edinburgh, he's been given a bridge to match.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

dublin, ireland march 04 uk out for 28 days prince william, duke of cambridge and catherine, duchess of cambridge visit teagasc research farm’s on march 04, 2020 in carlow, ireland the duke and duchess of cambridge are undertaking an official visit to ireland between tuesday 3rd march and thursday 5th march, at the request of the foreign and commonwealth office photo by poolsamir husseinwireimage

(Image credit: Pool/Samir Hussein)

While William and Kate don't have funeral code names, they do have an alias that they use when they go on holiday or on royal tours.

Making them sound a little more plain Jane than a Duke and Duchess, they're therefore known as Daphne Clark and Danny Collins.

Both names have the initials "DC" which of course stand for the Duke/Duchess of Cambridge, and William shares his with an Al Pacino movie—although they're not thought to be connected.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

london, england march 09 prince harry, duhcess of sussex and meghan, duchess of sussex attends the commonwealth day service 2020 on march 09, 2020 in london, england photo by samir husseinwireimage

(Image credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Despite no longer being working members of the Royal Family, Prince Harry and Meghan did have code names before they left.

Introducing: Davina Scott and David Stevens.

They definitely sound like a Hollywood power couple.

But the pair used the names before they fled the UK for California, mostly for Royal visits and vacations.

Prince Charles

belfast, northern ireland september 30 prince charles, prince of wales during a visit to the ulster museum on september 30, 2020 in belfast, united kingdom photo by ian vogler wpa poolgetty images

(Image credit: Ian Vogler - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

As next in line to the throne, Prince Charles has inherited not one, but three different code names across his life.

The first, and arguably most unexpected, is Unicorn.

That's right, the glittering, mythical creature was actually the nickname of our future King when he visited the United States in 1971. While there's no official reasoning behind it, we definitely think he's got a thing for rainbows and sparkles.

When Prince Charles does eventually become the King, there are a lot of protocols in place, as you can imagine.

It will be the first British coronation ceremony since 1953, and it will be huge. In fact, they've already started rehearsing for when it does happen. That being said, it deserves its own name, and it's been dealt Operation Golden Orb.

During the ceremony, Charles will make his vow to God using a gold ball topped with a cross, resembling an orb, which is how the name came to be.

But after his 1988 skiing incident where he went missing, the family also have to be prepared for the worst case scenario.

And despite already being used once (then thankfully being found alive), Prince Charles' death will be known as Operation Menai Bridge, after the Welsh suspension bridge, and him of course, being the Prince of Wales.

Princess Diana

If you've been keeping up to date with The Crown, you'll know that Princess Diana collaborated with journalist Andrew Morton on a book about her life as someone married into the Royal Family.

The book was such a huge secret, that it even got its own secretive moniker: Noah.

The name was inspired by Morton's being described in a media report as "notable author and historian"—and Diana came up with it herself. Clever.


london, england october 07 prince harry takes part in a training session during a celebration for the expansion of coach core at lords cricket ground on october 7, 2016 in london, england photo by ben a pruchniegetty images

(Image credit: Ben A. Pruchnie)