As most of my career has been public sector (until last year I was working for the police), the importance of Op London Bridge (the plans for when the monarch dies) was drummed into me. I know people who have had specific roles to play in the preparations on a national and regional, as well as local level.
It is not something you “look forward to”, but as a public sector comms person it is definitely something you want to do justice to, and take pride in.
Having left the police last year, it was peculiar to experience HRH the Queen’s death from “the other side”. While I am still in the public sector, I am working at an arm-length body of the government, so my current employer does not have the same relationship with the monarchy.
Speaking to police colleagues they talk of the deep connection they have – their attestation mentions the monarch (wikipedia has already been updated!), and their role is to uphold the Queen’s peace. One officer I spoke to told me how, on the Friday of the Queens death, she was in court in a “Rex Vs” court case (no longer “Regina Vs”), and providing information to “King’s Counsel” (in place of Queen’s Counsel). The monarchy, and what it represents, pervades through every part of the police force.
In previous national events (the 2011 riots, the 2012 Olympics, the Jubilees, the Brexit vote and the 2015 Magna Carta celebrations) I’ve avoided thinking about the historical significance of the event as I was too busy thinking of the impact of the event on the public (and what my role, however slight, was in moulding that impact). In some ways I am missing that “rush”, but I also realise that this is the first time in a long time that I have had the space to consider on my relationship with the monarchy and my nationality. I laid some flowers (I’ve never done that before) and went to the proclamation of King Charles at my local council. I don’t know whether I would define myself as a monarchist – but it feels good to reflect on the historical times I am living through.
If you are a public sector comms person involved in the Queens funeral and the King’s ascension (and I know how busy many of you are at the moment) I urge you to take a step back when you get a chance to consider not only what impact you’ve had on the events we are living through – but also what impact the events we are living through have had on you. Look after yourself.