The Royal Family's secret code words revealed - what they are and why they use them...

The Royal Family's secret code words have been revealed, here's what you need to know about the private terms the royals rely on

The Royal Family's secret code words
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The Royal Family's secret code words that are used in royal households have been revealed. Here are the most major code words, and what they mean...

The Royal Family uses secret code words to communicate private information without the details becoming public knowledge and these words have been revealed.

If you're a fan of the Netflix drama The Crown you will be familiar with some of the code names used by the royal family to break the news - which usually comes from a private secretary - about senior royals.

Royal deaths have a secret code word

In Series 4 of The Crown, Prince Charles' code name Menai Bridge was given when it was thought he had died following a ski accident in 1988. He was on a ski slope at the time of an avalanche and viewers hear the phrase 'Operation Menai Bridge' being used - and this is because Menai Bridge is a suspension bridge in Wales and Prince Charles is the Prince of Wales and he was feared dead.

As Prince William is now the new Prince of Wales, it is possible that his title code word for his possible demise is Operation Menai Bridge. However, it is also entirely possible that they have kept the King's code word the same, to avoid confusion.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, wearing a navy blue Ralph Lauren jumper, sits next to his girlfriend and sister of Lady Diana Spencer, Lady Sarah Spencer (later Lady Sarah McCorquodale) as they attend a polo match at Guards Polo Club in July, 1977 in Windsor, United Kingdom.

(Image credit: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

When the Queen died in 2022, Operation London Bridge went into action as her Private Secretary announced 'London Bridge is down'.  As the Queen also died in Scotland, Operation Unicorn was also enacted which involved the transportation of her body from Scotland to the UK.

The Queen's passing was first announced on BBC News, following confirmation from Buckingham Palace. After this, the UK's Prime Minister at the time, Liz Truss, made an official speech outside of 10 Downing Street and King Charles III made a statement on behalf of the Royal Family.

This then enacted the formal days of mourning after Her Majesty's passing and the UK began preparing for the Queen's journey back to London, her lying in state, and her funeral.

King Charles III walks alongside the coffin carrying Queen Elizabeth II with the Imperial State Crown resting on top

(Image credit: Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip, was given the code name of Forth Bridge - named after a bridge in Edinburgh. When his death was announced in April 2021, it was announced that Forth Bridge was down, and then the plan to announce this news to the public and begin funeral preparations during Covid began.

The Queen Mother's death and funeral were referred to as 'Operation Tay Bridge' ahead of her death. However, according to royal historians, the plans for the Queen Mother's funeral were used for Princess Diana's sudden untimely death, which had not been prepared for.

The Queen Mother celebrates her 90th birthday in London

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Per The Express, Royally Obsessed host, Rachel Bowie said, "The funeral procession and ceremony had actually been regularly rehearsed for the past 22 years in preparation for Elizabeth, the Queen Mother's death, it was called Operation Tay Bridge. They would rehearse it case of her death but she actually didn't die until five years after Diana did and she was 101."

The use of Bridges as code names for death wasn't always protocol. In 1952 when King George VI died, the phrase 'Hyde Park Corner' was used to inform officials via switchboard operators.

All of these deaths form part of Operation Lion, which according to the Evening Standard, is the term used for all of the plans for royal deaths.

Royal Family code names

The younger members of the royal family aren't given code names for death eventualities but they do have an alias when booking their holidays and travel. 

When Prince William and Princess Catherine were known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, it was reported by The Express that they go by the names Daphne Clark and Danny Collins while traveling. 

Reportedly, this was because their initials were DC and DC which represents the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It is unclear if the royal couple has used a new code name that has the same initials as their new titles as the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Kate Middleton enjoyed a special reunion on her trip to Cornwall

(Image credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage)

The same can reportedly be said for Prince Harry and Meghan who were secretly called Davina Scott and David Stevens while senior members of the Royal Family. These code names were apparently used for royal visits and vacations.

It has also been reported on a few occasions that Prince William used a bizarre fake name and asked his security to refer to him as Steve when he first started at university and wanted to keep a low profile. The incognito name Kate Middleton uses to fly under the radar has also been revealed as it was said the Princess has previously called herself Mrs.Cambridge in order to keep a low profile.

The Chelsea Iris Brooch has all the makings of a future favorite accessory

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It has even been reported that the Queen herself opted for some interesting code names, and at one point was called Sharon. The Queen's bizarre secret code name was based on her role as the Sovereign. The Sun reported that an aide on a security trip back in 2019 revealed Her Majesty's code name. "She's written down as S," revealed the aide, who when asked what 'S' stands for added, "It’s Sharon." 

Royal historian Hugo Vickers told The Sun, "The purpose of any sobriquet is that it should be anonymous and memorable," said the historian. "If it can also be a bit mischievous and therefore all the more memorable, then that makes sense." He added, "Although S might simply stand for Sovereign of course."

King Charles' coronation code name

King Charles

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Operation Golden Orb - named after the gold ball topped with a cross that Charles will make his promise to God - is the name given to the King's upcoming coronation. The plan first began soon after the Queen's funeral and plans to crown the next monarch are in full swing.

King Charles' coronation is set to take place in the Spring on Sarurday, May 6, 2023. The ceremony will see the King and Queen consort being anointed with holy oil and ascending to the British throne. The celebrations will then take place on the Saturday and Bank Holiday Monday, thus concluding Operation Golden Orb.

Princess Diana's biography code name

Princess Diana

(Image credit: Getty)

The late Princess Diana is understood to have made her own code name to refer to her tell-all biography in which she sat down with Andrew Morton. The book was published five years before Princess Diana's death and it remains to be one of the most accurate accounts of her life.

The Princess reportedly dubbed the process, and Morton, who she was speaking to, as 'Noah.' According to the Toronto Sun, the nickname 'Noah' was based on a joke from an American paper's reference to him as a "notable author and historian." 

Selina Maycock

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 15 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She has covered all things Entertainment for GoodtoKnow, Woman&Home and My Imperfect Life. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand.