Leaks on Operation London Bridge – the plans for action in the event of the Queen’s death – had reached the public for years. After the departure of Elizabeth II, it was time to implement “Operation Unicorn”, prepared in case the monarch died in her Scottish residence.
There were various plans for action after the death of the British monarch. “Operation Overstudy” was a plan in case Elizabeth II died abroad. As the Queen spent several months at Balmoral Castle each year, a plan was also prepared in case she passed away in her Scottish residence.
“Operation Unicorn” – what it assumes
“Operation Unicorn” explains how the body Queen who died on Thursday will be transported from Balmoral to London. According to ABC News, “the body is expected to be transported from Balmoral to the nearby town of Aberdeen on Friday,” then the coffin will be on display at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh for one day.
Later, the coffin with the queen’s body will probably be moved in a procession along the Royal Mile to Edinburgh’s St. Giles. Then she will be transported to London by the royal trainwhere thousands of people will be able to pay tribute to the deceased monarch at the Palace of Westminster. The train will travel from Edinburgh Waverley Station to St Pancras in London.
When Operation Unicorn ceases to apply
On each platform of the route, members of the armed forces and rescue services will be on a guard of honor. As the Guardian said, “railroad crossings, bridges and embankments are expected to be so covered with flowers that rail officials plan to send a sweeping train to clear and tidy up the tracks behind it.” The air defense of the route will be provided by the RAF.
“Operation Unicorn” will end when the coffin with the queen’s body crosses the border Scotland – then Operation London Bridge will begin. The content of the secret plans was leaked in 2019, when the minutes of the meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s steering group were published on a forum for senior parliamentary employees.
Balmoral, like Sandringham, is the private residence of the Queen, not a royal residence owned by the state. Elizabeth II traditionally spent most of the summer in her Scottish estate, and her family members stayed there from July to September and October.
ABC News, BBC, The Guardian, tvn24.pl
Main photo source: TOLGA AKMEN / PAP / EPA