Operation Unicorn

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The plan for Queen Elizabeth’s death has famously been known as “London Bridge,” however the specific contingency plan for what happens if she died in Scotland is known as Operation Unicorn. As such, Operation Unicorn is well underway. While King Charles takes on the business of sovereign in London, details of which you can read here, his mother will embark on her last journey this weekend.

Right now, the Queen’s body is resting in the ballroom of Balmoral Castle in Aberdeen. We know that at least three of her grandchildren, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and Zara Tindall, arrived this morning to pay their respects. As far as we know, three of her children – The Princess Royal, The Duke of York, and The Earl of Wessex – remain at Balmoral alongside The Countess of Wessex. Princess Anne’s husband, Timothy Laurence, may well be there too.

Queen Elizabeth’s body will remain at Balmoral until Sunday, September 11, at which point her coffin will be transferred to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. Holyrood is essentially the Buckingham Palace of Scotland – in years past, the Queen always spent a week in residence before moving to Balmoral for the summer.

On Monday, September 12, the funeral procession will travel along the Royal Mile to St Giles’ Cathedral where a service and vigil will be held. Members of the Royal Family are anticipated to attend. In London, the House of Commons and the House of Lords will meet at Westminster for a Motion of Condolence that Charles *may* attend.

On Tuesday, September 13, the Queen’s coffin will be flown to London and put at rest in Buckingham Palace. A rehearsal for the funeral procession from BP to Westminster Abbey will be held.

On Wednesday, September 14, the Queen’s coffin will then be moved to Westminster Hall, the most historic part of Parliament (in the Palace of Westminster), via a ceremonial procession through London. Her body will lie in state for four days. Senior royals will take turns “standing guard” of the coffin, a tradition known as the Vigil of the Princes.

Throughout this period, though as far as I know we don’t know the exact dates and times, Charles will make additional visits to Northern Ireland Wales as the new king. His presence in Scotland and England will be accounted for, I believe, via public functions he’s carrying out per the funeral procession and events such as today.

Over the weekend of September 17 & 18, foreign Heads of state are expected to begin arriving in the UK.

And then finally, on Monday, September 19, the Queen’s funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey.

It bears repeating this is the plan – it hasn’t been confirmed or publicly announced yet by the Palace. Adjustments may well be made.

Queen Elizabeth’s final resting place will be at Windsor in St George’s Chapel within the King George VI memorial chapel. Already there are the remains of both her parents, George VI and the Queen Mother, as well as the ashes of her sister, Princess Margaret. Once she is interred, The Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin will be moved from the Royal Vault to finally be laid to rest beside her.

7 thoughts on “Operation Unicorn

    1. What an asinine comment. I wish you the best of luck in finding another space where you can – anonymously, apparently – put your character on display. This isn’t it.

  1. LEW

    Thanks Rebecca, I *thought* I sort of understood the plan but now it’s actually happening couldn’t grasp it! I think one difference may be that the body of the Queen will be flown back rather than taken by Royal train on the East Coast Mainline, but who knows?

    Charles’ short meeting with the crowd surprised and moved me and oddly, I feel a sense of optimism at what is a sad and strange time. Looking forward to more posts and thanks again.

    1. I know, I felt the same way. Particularly watching Camilla and him walk into Buckingham Palace. I’m not sure how I’ll structure the next 10 days of coverage, but I will definitely be on here and writing every day 🙂

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