Buckingham Palace SENIOR aides have launched a major military-style planning operation to bring the Queen to Prince Philip’s memorial service using a helicopter and privacy screens.
The frail 95-year-old monarch pulled out of Commonwealth Day service last week, fearing for her ‘comfort’ on the 60-mile round trip and having to sit in Westminster Abbey for more than a week time.
She was forced to watch the event on TV at Windsor Castle.
But she is determined to attend the Duke of Edinburgh’s thanksgiving on Tuesday week – he died last April at the age of 99 – and officials are exploring an incredible range of options to get her there. ‘abbey.
The Sun on Sunday understands senior staff will arrange to fly Her Majesty by helicopter on a 15-minute trip from Windsor Castle to Buckingham Palace.
Although the Queen was seen standing in face-to-face engagements in Windsor last week, her aides are unhappy as she walks around 100 yards from the entrance to the abbey through the nave and chancel to get to his seat.
Instead, they want to drive her a short distance from the palace and seal off the entire Dean’s Court to the west of the Abbey so they can park privately outside a side door.
Six-foot privacy screens or even a football-style tunnel could be erected to prevent photographers from capturing her as she leaves the car.
The Queen has previously ruled out the possibility of using a wheelchair at this stage and remains determined to continue walking for as long as possible.
But the option of assistance has been explored so that they can move comfortably and quickly in Les Cloîtres, the southern and eastern parts.
The aides then think that Her Majesty can be delivered to Poets’ Corner Abbey and only needs a short walk to take her place in the sanctuary.
They are also considering whether she can be seated before the audience arrives rather than the last, as tradition dictates.
A source said: ‘Everything is being looked into to ensure the Queen will travel to Philip’s service. But the most important thing is to make sure she is comfortable.
“It has to be there, and the best and most capable minds are working hard to do their best to make it work.
“The Queen couldn’t make it to the Commonwealth ceremony because they couldn’t take her all that distance because it’s very uncomfortable in all that traffic.
“The best way is to fly by helicopter from Windsor to Buckingham Palace and then she only has a short journey to endure.
“A 15-minute flight is better than an hour in the back of a car. Some days she can walk easily. Other days, she can’t. It varies from day to day.
“The Queen has told her staff that she does not want to use a wheelchair, but they can help her through the side entrance and into the Abbey to speed up the process.
“She can get out of the car privately with her cane and efforts are being made to keep photographers away. But if she needs the wheelchair, it must be done behind screens or once she is in the side entrance.
“There is therefore a considerable distance between the door of the private cloister and the poets’ corner, where she can enter the abbey on foot.
“The help and consideration of broadcasters will also be sought and required.
It’s the only way for her to enter the Abbey. It should be as simple as possible and out of public view.
The Palace canceled its visit to the Abbey last Monday, just three days before the event.
Organizers of Philip’s memorial service are believed to want the Queen to enter next to Dean’s Yard.
Her Majesty last used this entrance in October when she first appeared with a cane on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Royal British Legion.
Royal biographer Penny Junor told The Sun on Sunday: “Obviously she would love to be there but, on the other hand, she’s spent her whole life with him. It’s more of a public ceremony to other people and not specifically for her.
“If she doesn’t make it, it’s not the end of the world. But I imagine they’ll move heaven and earth to try to get him there.
“She may only be able to be there through Zoom and on the big screen. Her love for her husband is beyond doubt.
“She buried him a year ago and it’s a ceremony for other people to say goodbye to him.”
Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty Magazine, said: “Naturally the Queen does not want to be seen in a wheelchair.
“But as a head of state and someone who wants to be seen and needs to be seen, she might give in to a wheelchair. The best way to do that is to make sure no photos are taken. ‘is taken.
“This could be a dress rehearsal for everything at the platinum jubilee. I think she wants to go because she knows Philip would want her there.
“She’ll think that if it was his thanksgiving ceremony, he would move heaven and earth to make sure he was there.
“She would really hate to miss this. This is a headache for his staff as it would be difficult for anyone his age who suffers from mobility issues. It would be a painful process for her.
Royals from across Europe are expected to attend the event after a reduced funeral last April meant only 30 mourners were allowed inside.
The Swedish and Dutch royal families have confirmed their attendance.
But the Queen’s grandson Prince Harry, 37, turned down the opportunity to be there.
He is suing the Interior Department because officials took away his security when he left royal duties to live in California.
The Duke of Sussex has been criticized for not coming to the Abbey memorial but choosing to attend his Invictus Games in the Netherlands two weeks later.