The gates at Buckingham Palace were looking a little worse for wears yesterday, after being driven into by a works lorry.

It's one of the most visited gates in the world, with hundreds of thousands of tourists flocking to the Queen's London residence each year to see the "changing of the guards."

However, the royal gates are not their ususal best.

Pictures of a metal unicorn, part of the royal crest, emerged on Twitter having apparently been knocked off the railings.

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The unicorn is a symbol of Scotland. Photo / Twitter
The unicorn is a symbol of Scotland. Photo / Twitter

The London Evening Standard

reported that the animal "was knocked off by a builder's lorry."

"Alas poor unicorn, knocked off from its perch on the gates of Buckingham Palace," reported one Twitter user with pictures of the fictional animal in pieces.

The unicorn, which represents the kingdom of Scotland on the royal crest, while the lion representing England apparently remained affixed.

Superstitious sorts and Scottish Independence supporters immediately leapt on the incident to declare it an omen in turbulent times.

"I'm no UK constitutional expert, but I *think* that makes us legally independent," wrote one Scottish Twitter user, optimistically.

Others decided it was just the sign of a clumsy driver having a very bad day.

The gates were reportedly driven into by a works lorry. Photo / Twitter
The gates were reportedly driven into by a works lorry. Photo / Twitter

A spokesperson for the palace told the press "We can confirm an incident took place yesterday morning where a lorry damaged the North Centre Gate at Buckingham Palace.
"The matter is currently being investigated."

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Metropolitan Police have said that there is no criminal investigation opened. It is unlikely any charges will be pursued.

The Queen's official residences account for around 2.8 million visitors a year. The Scottish Palace of Holyrood attracts almost 400,000 tourists each year. Buckingham Palace in London has over half a million visits from monarchist and is second only to Windsor Castle that welcomes 1.43 million tourists a year.

Research by VisitBritain revealed that more than 60 per cent of overseas visitors said they intended to visit places associated with the UK royal family.

The palace has said it is working on replacing the unicorn as quickly as possible.
However, this missing unicorn might spoil a few selfies with Queen's guards.