Operation Unicorn: What happens if Queen Elizabeth dies in Scotland?

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth

Operation London Bridge is the name of the plan should Her Majesty die in England. However, the plan for what should happen in the event of the Queen’s death in Scotland is known as Operation Unicorn.

The nation is wishing Queen Elizabeth the best of health after Buckingham Palace announced she is under medical supervision at Balmoral. However, plans have been in place for a long time if the worst should tragically happen and the Monarch dies. We hope Operation Unicorn is not needed for a long time, and the 96-year-old makes a full recovery.

What is Operation Unicorn?

Should the Queen die in Scotland, Parliament would immediately be suspended to prepare for her state funeral. Thousands of people would be expected to go to Scotland to pay their respects and mourn. Many are expected to congregate in Edinburgh at St Giles’ Cathedral, the Scottish Parliament, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The monarch would be conveyed from Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire to Edinburgh on a special train, where it is understood the Queen would initially rest in state at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Her coffin would then be carried to St Giles’ Cathedral on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, where people would be able to pay their respects.

The Queen would then be transported by Royal Train from Waverley Station to London. It is understood she is to be buried with her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, in Windsor.

What is Operation London Bridge?

Operation London Bridge is the primary plan for the Queen’s death, which would run in parallel with Operation Unicorn should the Monarch die in Scotland. It sets out in detail what will happen in the 10 days between the Queen’s death and her state funeral.

What is Operation Spring Tide?

Operation Spring Tide is the plan for the Prince of Wales’ ascension to the throne, starting the day after the Queen’s death when he will be proclaimed the new kind by the Accession Council at St James’s Palace.

That evening MPs would swear allegiance to the new Monarch, followed by proclamations by the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish administrations the day after.

On the third day, the new monarch would receive the motion of condolence at Westminster Hall in the morning and then depart for a tour of the United Kingdom, attending services in Edinburgh, Belfast, and Cardiff before returning to London.

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