Queen Elizabeth II and other senior members of the British royal family could be evacuated from London if Brexit triggers riots in the capital city, according to reports.
Dai Davies, a former police officer who was in charge of royal protection at London’s Metropolitan Police Service told Britain’s The Sunday Times newspaper: “If there were problems in London, clearly you would remove the royal family away from those key sites.”
Citing unnamed officials, The Sunday Times and The Mail on Sunday newspapers reported cold war-era plans to protect the royal family could be revived if the country crashed out of the European Union without a deal. The reports were not confirmed by the British government or the royal family. Neither body immediately responded to requests for comment.
After the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, officials created a plan which would be rolled out in the event of an outbreak of war with Russia. The plan, known as Operation Candid, would have seen members of the British royal family sent from London to various properties in the British countryside for their protection, the Mail on Sunday reported.
Conservative MP for North East Somerset and hard-line Brexit supporter Jacob Rees-Mogg told the Mail on Sunday that the reported plans would be a “wartime fantasy” concocted by civil servants inspired by Vietnam War images of helicopters arriving at the U.S. Embassy in what is now Ho Chi Minh City.
“The over-excited officials who have dreamt up this nonsense are clearly more students of fantasy than of history,” he said.
As the March 29 2019 deadline for the U.K. to leave the European Union looms, British politicians are struggling to agree on a plan to deliver Brexit.
On January 15, Prime Minister Theresa May suffered the biggest defeat for a government in the country’s modern history. The deal May had spent more than two years devising with the EU was rejected by 432 votes to 202.
Amid fears the outcome of Brexit, whether leaving the EU without a plan or delaying the process, could cause civil unrest, the Queen called for “common ground” in a speech in late January.
The monarch is required to be politically neutral and does not publicly comment on current affairs, but her speech to mark the centenary of the community organization the Women’s Institute was widely regarded as a veiled attempt to calm simmering tensions in the U.K.
She spoke of the importance of “never losing sight of the bigger picture,” The Guardian reported.
“The continued emphasis on patience, friendship, a strong community-focus and considering the needs of others are as important t day as they were when the group was founded all those years ago,” she said.