'Operation Unicorn' kicks in after Queen Elizabeth's death in Scotland

Queen Elizabeth
When the Queen dies, her private secretary will ring up the prime minister and say, the 'London Bridge is down'. Photos: AFP

London: The death of the Queen is known in official circles in the United Kingdom as Operation London Bridge. The protocol was triggered when Buckingham Palace announced the death of the 96-year-old monarch on Thursday evening.

However, since the Monrach died in Scotland, the protocol known as 'Operation Unicorn' has kicked in.   

'The Herald' newspaper reported that the term Operation Unicorn was first used in the Edinburgh parliament's online papers in 2017, envisaging huge number of peopole arriving in Scotland following the death of the Monarch.

"... The Parliament, the neighbouring Palace of Holyroodhouse, and St Giles' Cathedral (in Scotland) will be the main focal points," the newspaper wrote on Wednesday.

The official protocoal set in motion a series of planned events, accompanied simultaneously by Operation Spring Tide, the codename for Queen Elizabeth II's son and heir Charles succeeding her on the throne as King Charles III.

London Bridge is down is reportedly the way in which the death of the Queen was communicated to the Prime Minister, Liz Truss, by the Queen's Private Secretary.

King Charles III will deliver a broadcast to the nation and a spontaneous Service of Remembrance will be held for the Prime Minister and a small number of ministers at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

An Accession Council is the one that proclaims King Charles as the new sovereign, which will be read at St. James's Palace and the Royal Exchange in London.

The Parliament will meet to agree on a message of condolence and for MPs to give tributes in the House of Commons. All parliamentary business will be suspended for 10 days. This will be followed by the Prime Minister and Cabinet meeting with the new King.

As the Queen died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, her body would be flown back to London.

Operation Lion refers to the Queen's coffin being transferred from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster via a ceremonial route through London. When it arrives, a memorial service is expected at Westminster Hall.

The coffin is expected to lie in state where hundreds of thousands of people are expected to converge on London to visit her and pay their respects, and condolence books will be opened online. The State Funeral is expected at Westminster Abbey in London.

No official details have been released about what will happen over the coming days, but it is anticipated that the Queen will be given a full state funeral, as is traditional to mark the death of a monarch. It is also expected that her body will lie in state to allow the public to pay tribute. King Charles III will sign off the final plans in the coming days.

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