Buckingham Palace's 'Military-Style Operation' To Get Queen To Prince Philip Memorial Service
Senior Buckingham Palace aides are described as having come up with a step-by-step plan to safely transport Queen Elizabeth II to a memorial service being held in honour of Prince Philip.
The 'Service of Thanksgiving' for the Duke of Edinburgh is set to take place at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday, March 29, to honour Philip's life and 'long association with Westminster Abbey'.
Just last week the Queen pulled out of the Commonwealth Day service at the Abbey amid fears for her 'comfort' on the trip there, but Her Majesty is said to be determined to attend the upcoming event, prompting aides to put a plan in place.
A source with knowledge of the proceedings told The Sun on Sunday senior staff are planning to fly the Queen by helicopter on a 15-minute trip from Windsor Castle to Buckingham Palace, after which she will be driven the short distance from the Palace to the west of the Abbey, where the driver will park outside a side door.
Commenting on the journey, the source said: 'Everything is being looked at to make sure the Queen makes it to Philip’s service. But the most important thing is to make sure she is comfortable.
'She must be there, and the best and most capable minds are hard at work doing their very best to make it work. The Queen couldn’t go to the Commonwealth ceremony because they couldn’t take her all that distance as it’s very uncomfortable in all that traffic.The best way is to fly by helicopter from Windsor to Buckingham Palace, then she only has a short drive to endure.'
Once at the Abbey, the Queen will step out into an area possibly covered by privacy screens or a football pitch-style tunnel to prevent photographers taking photos of her as she leaves the car.
Aides expect the Queen will then only need to walk a short distance to her seat in The Sanctuary, and they are exploring the prospect of Her Majesty being seated before the audience arrives rather than the traditional order in which she takes her seat last.
The source claimed 'some days [the Queen] can walk around easily' but on 'other days she cannot', adding: 'It varies from day to day. The Queen has told her staff that she doesn’t want to use a wheelchair but they can give her assistance to get through the side entrance and into the Abbey to speed up the process.'
'Help and consideration from broadcasters will also be sought and required,' they added.
A notice for the memorial on the Westminster Abbey website describes how the Queen and Prince Philip married at the site before celebrating their Silver, Golden and Diamond wedding anniversaries there.
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