Published On: Sun, Jul 7th, 2019

Queen Elizabeth II: Secret strategy for when Monarch dies revealed as 'Operation Unicorn'


The secret strategy, called Operation Unicorn, involves the immediate suspension of business at Scottish Parliament, according to the Herald on Sunday. The suspension would be put in place to allow authorities to prepare for a state funeral that would become a global event. A source from the Queen’s residence in Scotland, Holyrood Palace said the Queen dying north of the border could result in hundreds of thousands of people from across the world flowing to the region.

The UK’s strategy for handling the Queen’s death is called Operation London Bridge and dates back to the 1960s.

The plan has been adapted since the turn of the 20th century and it is believed meetings strategising the event of her death take place around three times a year which involve members of the government, the police and broadcasters.

A forum for senior Holyrood staff called the Scottish Parliament’s Leadership Group (LG) revealed the existence of a parallel strategy in minutes taken from a meeting which took place in June.

The account stated: “LG received an update on planning for Operation Unicorn – the death of Her Majesty The Queen while in Scotland.

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“The primary focus was on the impacts on staffing and the specific impacts depending on timing.”

The secret codename was first mentioned in Parliament’s online papers in 2017 when LG agreed to set up a “resilience board” for “disruptive incidents”.

Parliament said the “significant incidents” should include Holyrood’s role in the London Bridge operation and Unicorn.

The Queen spends roughly three months a year at Balmoral and it is understood that if she died in Scotland the Parliament, the Palace of Holyrood and St Giles’ Cathedral will be the main focus points for journalists and the public.

If the Queen dies when the Parliament is sitting, all business will be suspended and the funeral will take place roughly ten days after her death.

One of the biggest challenges for Parliament will be coping with the large number of people expected to want to sign a condolence book at Holyrood.

If the Queen does pass away in Scotland, her body will rest at Holyrood Palace and her coffin will then be carried to the Cathedral.

She will then be placed on the Royal Train to be taken back to London.

A Scottish Parliament spokesperson said: “The existence of plans for a future change of reign are a matter of public record.”



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