What Queen Elizabeth’s II Death Means for Scotland


The eyes of the world turned to Scotland on Thursday after the death of Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral, her Scottish summer time residence.

The U.Okay.’s longest reigning monarch, aged 96, the Queen had suffered a number of years of ill-health. Her son Charles, who has instantly turn out to be King of Nice Britain and Northern Eire, and his spouse Camilla, now Queen Consort, have gathered with the remainder of the royal household at Balmoral and can stay there till Friday, Buckingham Palace said in a statement.

Plans for the Queen’s demise have been held for many years by palace employees and U.Okay. officers, with elaborate ceremonial protocols often mentioned and up to date. However the truth that the Queen has died in Scotland—quite than in England—provides a brand new layer of complexity.

Her demise can also be prone to have political implications as Scotland’s leaders push for the nation to contemplate independence from the U.Okay. within the subsequent few years. Whereas Scotland, with a inhabitants of 5.45 million, is a part of the UK, it’s a separate nation from England—the place London is positioned—and has a lot of its personal legal guidelines, and has traditionally been much less supportive of the monarchy.

Why was the Queen in Scotland?

Ever since her youth, Queen Elizabeth has spent most of her summers in Balmoral, a sprawling highland property in Aberdeenshire, northeast Scotland. The citadel was bought by the royal household in 1852 below Queen Victoria’s reign. In a 2016 documentary, her granddaughter Princess Eugenie stated the citadel is the place the Queen is “most joyful.”

Clive Irving, writer of Elizabeth II biography The Final Queen, says he believes The Queen had wished to be in Scotland for the ultimate months of her life. “Balmoral was at all times the one [royal residence] that had the qualities of an actual house, in comparison with Windsor Citadel and Buckingham Palace specifically, which is a soulless kind of place.”

In 2022, the Queen’s employees have more and more restricted her journey and engagements, citing “mobility issues”. Simply this Tuesday, she broke with protocol when she opted to remain in Balmoral for her formal appointment of the U.Okay.’s new prime minister Liz Truss. The Queen had appointed 14 earlier prime ministers throughout her 70-year reign, and this was the primary time the ceremony had taken place outdoors of Buckingham Palace.

Pictures of the assembly with Truss on Tuesday, confirmed the Queen trying unusually skinny and frail, sparking concern within the media about her well being.

How does the Queen’s demise in Scotland change royal ceremony?

Official protocols for the Queen’s demise, in place for many years, have been the topic of intensive leaks within the U.Okay. media through the years. The overarching plan is called “Operation London Bridge,” and contains guidelines for all the pieces from how the Prime Minister will likely be knowledgeable (“London Bridge is down”), to how King Charles III will tackle the nation, and what’s going to occur to the Queen’s physique.

That final half is extra sophisticated because the Queen died in Scotland, a situation that activated so-called “Operation Unicorn.” The Queen’s physique will must be moved from Balmoral to Holyroodhouse, her residence within the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, to lie in relaxation for a short while. The physique will then be carried in a procession up the Royal Mile, a central avenue, to St. Giles Cathedral for a reception service.

Afterwards, Queen Elizabeth II’s physique will likely be taken to London on a royal practice from Edinburgh’s Waverley Station. Crowds are anticipated to satisfy the coffin at a number of factors alongside the journey to throw flowers, in accordance with The Guardian, with one other locomotive following behind to gather particles. If a practice journey is just not doable, the coffin will likely be taken to London by way of airplane (“Operation Overstudy”).

The coffin will likely be welcomed within the capital by the prime minister, and brought to Buckingham Palace. The Queen will obtain a state funeral at London’s Westminster Abbey ten days after her demise (enterprise in parliament will likely be suspended after affirmation of her demise for the preparations.) She is going to then be buried at Windsor Citadel.

What does the Queen’s demise imply for Scotland’s relationship with the remainder of the U.Okay.?

The transition of monarch from Elizabeth to her son, King Charles III, arrives at a tumultuous time for the union of the UK. Scotland’s semi-autonomous authorities is managed by the Scottish Nationwide Celebration (SNP), which advocates for Scotland to turn out to be an impartial nation.

SNP chief Nicola Sturgeon has argued that the U.Okay.’s departure from the E.U., which Scottish voters opposed, means it’s time for a brand new referendum on Scottish independence. (Scots voted down an independence referendum in 2014). Sturgeon insists a brand new ballot ought to happen in 2024—although Truss, the brand new prime minister, has stated she is going to block efforts to carry one.

To date, the SNP has stated it will preserve the monarchy as head of an impartial Scottish state. That made sense below Elizabeth, whose often-stated love of Scotland has been comparatively effectively reciprocated. A Yougov ballot published this May discovered 75% of Scots suppose the Queen did job in her position (in comparison with 84% within the U.Okay. as a complete.)

However the monarchy general has at all times been seen with barely larger hostility north of the border than in England or Wales. A poll by the think tank British Future, forward of the Queen’s platinum jubilee this Could, discovered that greater than a 3rd of Scots stated the top of the Queen’s reign could be the best time to abolish the monarchy and turn out to be a republic, in contrast with 1 / 4 of Brits general. Prince Charles is much less fashionable than his mom in Scotland: per Yougov, solely 52% of Scots predicted he would do job as king (in comparison with 57% within the U.Okay. general). Irving, the biographer of Queen Elizabeth II, says the SNP’s dedication to the monarchy “will expire” with the Queen’s demise.

If Charles proves an unpopular ruler, it could even weaken the Scots’ dedication to the union, he provides. “Having been on the throne for thus lengthy, she represented a depth of diploma and continuity that may’t be replicated,” Irving says. “The Queen held all the pieces collectively.”

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Write to Ciara Nugent at ciara.nugent@time.com.

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