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Can King Charles keep fractious realm united?


Queen Elizabeth II has been likened to the invisible glue holding the UK collectively.

Some assume the reign of King Charles III will see these bonds come unstuck, giving new momentum to Scotland’s push for independence.

However the reality the queen died final week at her beloved Highland retreat, Balmoral Fort, has made Scotland the main focus of commemorations watched across the globe within the first days after her demise. That has served as a reminder of the monarchy’s deep ties to Scotland — and will present a lift for the union.

It stays to be seen whether or not King Charles III proves an appropriate head of state for the non-English nations of the UK. (AP)

Scottish historian Tom Devine mentioned as a result of by “extraordinary serendipity” the queen died in Scotland, “it was potential for the world to see the connection between the queen and this nation.”

“It was a becoming finish to a lifetime of service and a lifetime of concern for the 4 nations — not merely one nation — of the UK,” he mentioned.

In a touching show of respect, 1000’s of individuals on Sunday lined the 280km route from Balmoral to Edinburgh because the queen’s coffin was pushed in a gradual procession to the Scottish capital. In a single day, the coffin was carried alongside Edinburgh’s medieval Royal Mile to St Giles’ Cathedral, the place 1000’s extra are anticipated to pay their respects over the following day.

The queen had deep ties to Scotland. In addition to spending her summer season months at Balmoral, her mom, the late Queen Mom, was Scottish and as a toddler the queen grew up enjoying on her grandparents’ property of Glamis Fort in central Scotland.

The Queen’s recognition in Scotland has been evident. (AP)

Thus far there have been solely tiny protests by anti-monarchist demonstrators. One lady was arrested in Edinburgh on Sunday for breaching the peace after brandishing a profane signal calling for the abolition of the monarchy.

King Charles III has moved rapidly to emphasize that he can be a monarch for the entire of the UK, endeavor a nationwide tour throughout his first days on the throne. He’s in Scotland at this time accompanying his mom’s coffin, and he plans to go to Northern Eire and Wales later within the week, attending memorial companies in Belfast and Cardiff.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Eire are all a part of the UK however have distinct histories and sophisticated ties with England, which dominates the UK in each inhabitants and politics.

Some Welsh nationalists have objected to Prince William being not too long ago given the title of Prince of Wales — a title first given to the inheritor to the throne after the English conquest of Wales within the 14th century.

Queen Elizabeth II's final journey: The Queen's coffin will travel from Balmoral to London ahead of her funeral on September 19.
Queen Elizabeth II’s ultimate journey: The Queen’s coffin will journey from Balmoral to London forward of her funeral on September 19. (9Honey/Tara Blancato)

The standing of the monarchy has at all times been fraught in Northern Eire, the place there are two foremost communities: unionists who take into account themselves British and nationalists who see themselves as Irish.

That break up fueled a long time of violence often known as “The Troubles,” and stays a deep divide. However in an indication of how far Northern Eire has come on the street to peace, representatives of the Irish Republican Military-linked get together Sinn Fein are attending commemorative occasions for the queen in Belfast.

Sinn Fein vp Michelle O’Neill praised “the numerous contribution Queen Elizabeth made to the development of peace and reconciliation between the completely different traditions on our island, and between Eire and Britain throughout the years of the peace course of.”

Scotland and England have been ruled beneath the identical monarch since 1603, and formally unified in 1707. However Scotland has distinct instructional and authorized methods and, since 1999, its personal parliament.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip with Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew at Balmoral in 1960. (AP)

Relations now between the Conservative UK authorities in London and the pro-independence Scottish administration in Edinburgh are tense.

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who left workplace final week, was unpopular in Scotland, the place a majority opposed his pet challenge: Brexit. Johnson led the UK out of the European Union after a 2016 referendum during which the nation as a complete backed leaving — however Scotland voted to remain within the bloc.

Devine mentioned Johnson’s authorities had displayed “a discount in respect for Scotland as an historic nation.”

“That perspective of disrespect significantly irritated the Scottish voters over the previous few years,” he mentioned. “However there’s a nonetheless a really sturdy sense right here that the monarchy — particularly within the particular person of the queen — maintains that respect.”

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has praised the Queen regardless of being in favour of independence. (BBC)

In 2014, Scotland held a referendum on whether or not to stay a part of the UK Voters rejected independence by 55 per cent to 45 per cent in what was billed as a once-in-a-generation alternative. However the Scottish Nationwide Celebration authorities in Edinburgh is pushing for a brand new independence referendum, arguing that Brexit has radically modified the political and financial panorama.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to carry such a vote in October 2023. However new Prime Minister Liz Truss, like Johnson, says her authorities is not going to agree, and with out its approval a referendum wouldn’t be binding.

Amid the political impasse, Sturgeon has appealed to the courts for the facility to name a referendum on her personal. The UK Supreme Court docket is to begin listening to the case subsequent month.

As monarch, Charles is required to stay politically impartial. His mom induced a stir in 2014 when she remarked that Scots ought to “assume very rigorously” earlier than voting — a comment extensively seen as opposing independence.

Shocking issues that can change with Queen’s demise

Even after that remark, the queen remained extensively revered by folks on each side of Scotland’s independence debate. Sturgeon, the pro-independence first minister, praised Elizabeth on Monday as “the Queen of Scots” and “the good fixed – the anchor of our nation.”

Pauline Maclaran, an professional on royal tradition at Royal Holloway College of London, mentioned “it is going to stay to be seen if Charles can command the identical loyalty” as his mom.

“There can be a honeymoon interval for Charles, I believe, the place all people — out of respect, but additionally their very own emotions — will lay off the standard calls for for independence,” she mentioned.

However Maclaran felt that interval wouldn’t final.

“I believe they (calls for for Scottish independence) will come again. And I believe the entire query can be how a lot can Charles construct his bonds with them? What bonds does he have? That may then be considered one of his checks, that is for certain,” she mentioned.



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