Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family could be be evacuated from London in March, if the official implementation of Brexit does not go smoothly.
The United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the European Union officially on March 29, and some officials are worried about how it will turn out. British lawmakers have been scrambling to renegotiate the deal, while the EU has continually refused. Now, according to The Sunday Times, the royal family is preparing plans for an evacuation from London if things get ugly.
An unnamed source in the U.K. government's Cabinet Office told the paper that the evacuation plans go all the way back to the Cold War. They have been revived and "repurposed" in recent weeks, just in case the queen and her family need to get out of a city plagued by riots or civil unrest.
“These emergency evacuation plans have been in existence since the Cold War, but have now been repurposed in the event of civil disorder following a no-deal Brexit,” said the Cabinet Office source. The office is specifically tasked with handling sensitive administrative issues.
Of course, the details of the plan are a carefully kept secret. The Sunday Times reported that it "agreed not to disclose" the secret location that the queen and her family would be moved to. Another source told The Daily Mail that the plan was just a "worst case" scenario, and would hopefully go unused.
In addition, a conservative lawmaker and proponent of Brexit, Jacob Rees-Mogg, told reporters that the plan was just a "wartime fantasy." He pointed out that the British royals had stayed in London even through the city's catastrophic bombings during World War II, and that there would be no need for the queen to be whisked away.
"The over-excited officials who have dreamt up this nonsense are clearly more students of fantasy than of history," he said.
Still, the story made a splash online, where many people in the U.K. thought it spoke volumes about the state of their government. Many quoted promises from 2016, when the Brexit referendum was passed, noting that they had been promised there were "no downsides" to the plan. Some even wanted to see a second referendum on Brexit to avoid any protests or riots in the first place.
“We can’t have a second referendum because there’d be civil unrest”
Also the government:— James Felton (@JimMFelton) February 2, 2019
“Good chance the riots will be so bad next month we’ll have to evacuate the fucking queen” pic.twitter.com/nWdFOctR1D
Brexit has yet to be implemented yet, and it is already effecting the U.K.'s economy. On Sunday, Nissan announced that it would not manufacture its X-Trail SUV in the U.K., and Sky News reported that Brexit was no small part of that decision.
"Uncertainty around the U.K.'s future relationship with the E.U. is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future," said Nissan executive Gianluca de Ficchy.