Platinum Jubilee: Queen a ‘quite extraordinary individual’, Nicola Sturgeon says | UK News


Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has paid tribute to the Queen on her Platinum Jubilee, describing her as a “quite extraordinary individual.”

She has re-affirmed the SNP’s commitment to retain the Queen, and her successors, as head of state, should Scotland ever become independent.

MSPs from the Scottish Greens, the SNP’s partners in government, boycotted a parliamentary debate this week that celebrated the jubilee.

Ms Sturgeon said: “There are different opinions across the UK on the institution of monarchy, that’s right and proper. We should celebrate the fact we live in a democracy where those differences can be expressed.

“You don’t have to be a great supporter of the monarchy – I’m not talking about me here – to have huge respect for the Queen and to think of her as a quite extraordinary individual to whom everybody across the UK and the Commonwealth owes a deep debt of gratitude.”

Ms Sturgeon said she would “always cherish” the hours of one-on-one conversation she’d had with the Queen, saying: “That opportunity to talk with her, to benefit from her knowledge, her wisdom, and perhaps above all, the completely unique perspective she has on modern world history is something that I deeply value and will always really treasure.”

The role of the monarchy is a core element of the political discourse in Scotland. Some opinion polls indicate less support for keeping the monarchy than in the rest of the UK.

Protocol prevents the Queen from engaging publicly in the country’s politics, but many thought she broke with tradition in the run-up to the independence referendum in 2014.

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She was heard to tell a member of the public that she hoped voters would “think very carefully about the future”. It was widely seen as having benefitted the pro-union cause.

Whether or not it was an intervention, the Queen is a political player within the bounds of her role as constitutional monarch.

Professor Murray Pittock, a historian from the University of Glasgow, told Sky News: “The Queen has not had a huge direct influence on the independence debate.

A Platinum Jubilee beacon is lit on Lyle Hill, Greenock as Piper Major John MacLeod of Inverclyde Pipes and Drums plays on day one of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Over 3,000 towns, villages and cities throughout the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories, and each of the capital cities of Commonwealth countries are lighting beacons to mark the Jubilee. Picture date: Thursday June 2, 2022.
Dozens of beacons were lit on Thursday evening across Scotland, as they were the whole of the UK

“What she has done is to preserve the position of the monarchy within that debate by respecting the institutions of devolved governance in Scotland, accommodating them into the United Kingdom more effectively than sometimes the democratic politicians have done and, in so doing, ensuring that those who do support independence are more likely to support the monarchy and the crown.

“That is her job – to support the crown and the institution that she represents. And she has done it very well.”

Dozens of beacons were lit on Thursday evening across Scotland, as they were the whole of the UK, and there will be a number of events around Scotland over the weekend.

To celebrate the jubilee, the Scottish government is giving the Queen a commemorative bottle of whisky and a tartan “throw” garment.

A “jubilee wood” is also being planted on Holyrood Park, next to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland.


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