The Queen and Prince Philip are currently continuing their annual retreat to their beloved Scottish estate of Balmoral. Her Majesty has deep personal ties to Scotland, as well as taking her duties as monarch of the United Kingdom in Scotland very seriously. However, Her Majesty, who traditionally remains strictly politically neutral, was seen by many to have expressed her opinion on the question of Scottish independence.
It has fresh relevance today, the 5th anniversary of the 2014 independence referendum, as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stepped up calls for a new vote.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Young people from every town and community in Scotland will have their say in a fresh independence referendum – and I am confident that they will overwhelmingly vote Yes."
During the last vote in 2014, the “No” side won with 55 percent of the vote, compared to 44 percent who voted “Yes” to leave the UK while Prime Minister David Cameron resided in Downing Street.
Former Tory donor Lord Ashcroft, in his controversial 2015 biography of Mr Cameron, “Call Me Dave”, claimed that Her Majesty had very strong feelings about the referendum and even considered how to “speak out” against the breaking up of the Union.
Queen Elizabeth II and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Image: Getty)
Nicola Sturgeon has called for a fresh referendum in Scotland (Image: Getty)
Noting that the Queen was "deeply troubled" by the prospect, he writes: “Inside Whitehall, there were discussions on whether she could somehow speak out against Scottish independence while remaining within the constitutional boundaries of neutrality.
“Under a cloak of secrecy, the Cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, and the Queen’s private secretary, Sir Christopher Geidt, held talks to work out how she might express her concerns in a suitably coded way.
“The result was a remark overheard after a Sunday service in Crathie Kirk, the small church that the royals attend when staying at Balmoral.
“‘I hope people will think very carefully about the future,’ the Queen was reported to have said – to the delight of the No camp.
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The Queen andPrince Philip with former PM David Cameron (Image: Getty)
“The carefully chosen words were no accident.
“Her supposedly off-the-cuff remark was a deliberate last-minute intervention – and it left no one in any doubt about which side she was on.