The Royal Family’s Secret Code Names Revealed

In some ways, the hardest thing about being a fan of the Royal Family is learning everybody’s names and titles. And the fact that certain titles change over time makes things even more confusing.

If your head isn’t spinning yet, there are even more royal names to learn: their “secret” code names. These are the names that family members and authorities use to discreetly refer to certain royals without using their real names.

Just which royals have the weirdest code names? Keep reading to find out!

Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth is the most important person in England. Fittingly, she has multiple code names, and some are sillier than others.

As Cosmopolitan points out, the Queen has one very simple code name she often uses: “Sharon.” In some cases, those using the code name shorten it even further to “S.”

Another code name involving the Queen is a tad morbid. Pretty much all of the older royals have detailed plans for their funerals, and this includes code names to refer to the person’s death as well as the funeral arrangements. 

For example, the Queen’s death may be announced with the phrase “London Bridge is down.” Presumably, referring to Elizabeth as “London Bridge” is a way to describe how important she is, and the fuller name “Operation London Bridge” refers to her death. Interestingly, other royals also have bridge code names related to their deaths.

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Prince Charles

For most of the living royals, code names related to their deaths have not yet been used because… well… they’re still alive! But due to a freak incident in the past, we know that the code name related to Prince Charles’ death is “Operation Menai Bridge.”

Why that name, and why was it invoked? According to iNews, Charles went on a skiing trip to Switzerland in 1988. He was accompanied by Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson. At one point, there was an avalanche on Mt. Gotschnagrat. For a short while, Charles was presumed dead, and the phrase “Operation Menai Bridge” referred to that death.

As Cosmpolitan reports, Charles has two other code names… one very pompous and one very silly. The more pompous code name is “Operation Golden Orb,” and this refers to Charles becoming the King of England after Elizabeth passes away. The silly code name is “unicorn,” and your guess is as good as ours!

Prince Philip

Sadly, we discover some of these code names only after a royal passes away. Most recently, this occurred when Prince Philip passed away in 2021.

As the Bristol Post reports, the codename for the death of Prince Philip was “Operation Forth Bridge.” The name refers to a very specific bridge in Edinburgh, Scotland. And Philip may have had a hand in the code name because he took a very active role in planning his own funeral.

Speaking of funerals, one of the primary reasons the code names exist is so that surviving royals can discreetly spread the news and begin preparing everything from funeral arrangements and press releases. The Royal Family has often had a contentious relationship with the tabloids, and the code names for deaths help them to get ahead of the story before the press can leak the details out to the world.

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Queen Elizabeth’s parents

This use of codenames for the Royal Family goes back a long time. And while Queen Elizabeth II has been reigning since 1953, her own parents actually benefited from these secretive code names.

As Express reports, Elizabeth’s mom, better known as The Queen Mother, used the codename “Operation Tay Bridge.” As with the other bridge-related code names, this referred to her eventual death. There may be a bit of irony in this code name: on one hand, a code named after a bridge in Scotland may simply be a way to honor the woman who grew up there. On the other hand, Tay Bridge collapsed due to infamous engineering failures, so using this as a code name for someone so important may seem a bit odd.

What about Elizabeth II’s father, King George VI? He apparently got to skip the bridge naming convention and “Operation Hyde Park Corner” referred to his own death. Considering that he ruled during World War II, the royals may have worried about having to use that sooner rather than later. Still, the king survived the war and died in 1952.

Funny code names for the younger royals

So far, we have focused on the code names for older royals. Many of these code names refer to death because the older royals are likelier to die sooner than the younger royals. However, that doesn’t mean that younger royals don’t have some interesting code names of their very own!

For example, Cosmopolitan reports that Prince William, the future King of England, has the odd codename “Danny Collins.” Kate Middleton, meanwhile, uses the codename “Daphne Clarke.”

Before stepping back from most of their royal responsibilities, Prince Harry used the codename “David Stevens” and Meghan Markle went by “Davina Scott.”

While the actual names don’t seem to have much importance, the initials do. As you can tell, William and Kate, as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, each have “DC” names. Meanwhile, Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have “DS” names.

If nothing else, the code names match the gender of the person they refer to. When she was still alive, William and Harry’s mother Princess Diana went by “Noah,” and we’re still trying to figure that one out!

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