Queen’s death in Scotland activates Operation Unicorn

A series of ceremonial events are set to take place in the wake of the passing of Elizabeth II.

Queen’s death in Scotland activates Operation Unicorn iStock

The death of the Queen in Scotland has triggered contingency plans codenamed Operation Unicorn.

Part of the long-held so-called London Bridge arrangements for the aftermath of the monarch’s death, Unicorn sets in motion additional ceremonial events in Edinburgh ahead of the logistics of moving the Queen’s coffin back to London.

The Earl Marshal who is in charge of the plans will, along with royal aides and the Government, will be rapidly adjusting the overarching timetable to incorporate the Scottish element, as the military, clergy and police turn their attention to the immense practicalities.

Members of the Royal family have already rushed to Balmoral, with Charles – the new king – and the Queen’s other children the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex at the monarch’s bedside.

Balmoral Castle.iStock

Members of the royal family will be expected to hold a poignant vigil while Queen’s coffin rests in the Ballroom at Balmoral Castle – her private home in Aberdeenshire in the Scottish Highlands.

In around two days’ time, the Queen’s coffin is expected to be driven by car from Balmoral to Edinburgh.

The long, slow journey will take more than five hours as it passes through many Scottish towns and villages, watched by mourners expected to gather along the route.

The Queen’s body will rest overnight in the oak-panelled Throne Room at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh – her official residence in Scotland.

The Queen's residence in Edinburgh, the Palace of Holyrood House.iStock

The next day, in around three days’ time, it is expected to be taken in a procession along the Royal Mile in the heart of Edinburgh’s old town.

Members of the royal family are expected to process behind the hearse to the historic St Giles’ Cathedral, where it will remain at rest for 24 hours.

The Queen’s children, King Charles, Anne, Edward and Andrew are expected to stage a vigil around the Queen’s coffin – known as the Vigil of the Princes – while it lies in the cathedral.

Members of the public are expected to be allowed in to file past the Queen’s coffin to pay their respects.

The next day as part of Operation Overstudy – the transfer of the Queen’s coffin by plane, the coffin will be flown to London by the RAF on a military aircraft, ahead of preparation for a lying in state.

Unicorns – considered a symbol of purity and innocence – are Scotland’s national animal.

The mythical creature first appeared on a Scottish royal coat of arms for William I in the 12th century.

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