Operation Unicorn: What exactly is going on?
Operation London Bridge details plans for the event that the monarch passes away in England (“London Bridge is down” is the code phrase for the Queen’s passing), while Operation Unicorn is the plan for what happens if Queen Elizabeth dies in Scotland (due to the unicorn being Scotland’s national animal).
As it unfolded, Queen Elizabeth II passed away aged 96 in her favourite Scottish residence Balmoral.
Following Operation Unicorn protocol, Queen’s body will be transported from north-east Scotland to Alberdeen, put on the Royal Train to Edinburgh to stay in the medieval palace Holyrood house for a day, then up the Royal Mile to St Gile’s Cathedral near Edinburgh Castle. Mourners will pay respects along the route. Then, following the Scottish ceremonies, the Queen will take a final trip to London.
Once she crosses the border, Operation London Bridge will commence, with the Queen resting in Buckingham Palace’s throne room, then to Westminster Hall. Then, she will be carried to Westminster Abbey. At 11AM, about ten days after the Queen’s death, Big Ben will ring, and the funeral precession will begin. There will be silence, and world will say farewell to the longest reigning monarch since Louis XIV of France.
As of today, King Charles III will take the “reigns” – issuing his first statement as His Majesty the King. There will soon be a Proclamation of the King held by the Accession Council, and Charles will be proclaimed King by the Garter King of Arms – beginning his kingly duties the following day. His official coronation will most likely be held within a year.