Scotland: King 'will remain head of state if independent' says Sweeney
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King Charles III “should be head of state” following the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the SNP have no wish to challenge that, the deputy leader of the party has said. While there have been some calls for a vote on whether Scotland should become a republic as they prepare for a second independence referendum, support for the monarchy appears overwhelming as members of the public flood the streets of Edinburgh to get a glimpse of the Queen’s hearse.
Mr Webb said: “There is a fascinating line in The Scotsman’s editorial this morning. They talk about the mutual fondness between Scotland and the monarchy.
“Over her reign, they say, demands for constitutional change only became stronger but the authority and the affection the Queen held meant the mainstream of those seeking change were never, at least publicly, seeking to replace the Queen as head of a Scottish state. Does that remain, as The Scotsman puts it?”
Mr Swinney said: “As a representative of the mainstream opinion on the question of independence, my Party’s position is that, yes, the monarch, which on Thursday was Her Majesty the Queen and is now His Majesty the King, should be the head of state of an independent Scotland.
“That has been our position. It is what we argued during the referendum in 2014 and it is what we will continue to argue.”
While the ruling Scottish National Party’s policy is that it wants to keep the monarchy even if Scotland wins independence, some nationalists openly say that if Scotland becomes independent then the public should choose between keeping the monarchy or electing a head of state.
Scotland has traditionally been more sceptical about the monarchy than other parts of the United Kingdom, and the institution is declining in popularity.
In May, a poll found 36 percent believed the end of the Queen’s reign would be the appropriate moment to become a republic.
Broadly in line with the main fault lines on whether Scots want independence, there is a generational divide where elderly residents express devotion to the royals and younger locals said they felt little connection to the family.
In The Scotsman’s editorial today, as the nation is the first to host the Queen following her passing in Balmoral Castle, the publication wrote that they hoped King Charles III will follow “in the footsteps of his mother”.
They wrote: “As we bid farewell to the Queen, we will then look to him to serve in the name of stability and continuity, and hope he will – in the footsteps of his mother – be able to build the sometimes strained bonds that tie this nation together.”
The Queen, who spoke about her deep affinity for Scotland, was for some the personification of the British identity.
While the British monarch is meant to be politically neutral, the queen hinted at key moments of her desire for Scotland to remain part of the four countries in the United Kingdom.
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Her death in Scotland, at her summer home Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands, underscored her close ties to the country. For the next two days, Scotland will be the centre of national mourning.
Tens of thousands of people lined Edinburgh’s Royal Mile on Sunday to glimpse the queen’s hearse as it made its way to the royal residence in the Scottish capital. Locals said it was the busiest they had ever seen the streets in the capital.
Crowds were also out on Monday when King Charles arrived in the Scottish capital for a vigil over the queen’s coffin at St Giles’ Cathedral.
People in Scotland will be the first among anyone in the United Kingdom to have the opportunity to file past and pay their respects.
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