United Kingdom

Former MI5 chief in charge of 'Operation Forth Bridge'

A former spymaster will be responsible for overseeing the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral planning.

Lord Parker of Minsmere, who became Lord Chamberlain of the Household after previously serving as Director-General of MI5, is just ten days into his new job, but will play a key role in Operation Forth Bridge – the codename for the Duke’s funeral plan.

Once described as ‘the safest pair of hands in Britain’, he guided MI5 through a series of Islamist attacks in 2017 and the Salisbury poisonings in 2018. 

Lord Parker of Minsmere, who became Lord Chamberlain of the Household after previously serving as Director-General of MI5, is just ten days into his new job, but will play a key role in Operation Forth Bridge

He hosted the Queen’s first visit to MI5’s headquarters in London last February.

While the Lord Chamberlain will remain in overall control, it is the Lord Chamberlain’s Office – headed by its Comptroller, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Vernon – which will deal with the practicalities. 

A former Extra Equerry to the Queen, Col Vernon previously served in the Coldstream Guards.

The Office draws up funeral plans years in advance and is expected to be working round the clock over the next week.

Vice Admiral Sir Tony Johnstone-Burt, the Master of the Queen’s Household and one of 22 loyal staff who formed ‘HMS Bubble’ around the Queen and the Duke during the pandemic, will also play a key role as will Sir Edward Young, the Queen’s private secretary, who will be the bridge between the Monarch and the Government. 

The Duke's funeral will be held at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle

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