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Why doesn’t Scotland love King Charles? Republican apathy may be for the best

It's easy to love Scotland when you only see the fun bits. Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

It's easy to love Scotland when you only see the fun bits. Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images


March 16, 2023   7 mins

When the Queen died at her country estate in Scotland, crowds lined the streets as her hearse crept its way from Balmoral to Edinburgh. There were no indications that her subjects north of the border mourned her any less than those in the south; indeed when Jacki Pickett, an anti-monarchist in the highland village of Muir of Ord posted a video of herself holding a sign reading “Lizard Liz is dead” a mob descended on her fish and chip shop and she had to be rescued by the police.

After years of drifting apart, the United Kingdom suddenly felt united again. It couldn’t last, of course, and it hasn’t: a new UnHerd Britain poll reveals that while 55% of UK citizens agree that it’s a good thing Britain has a monarchy, in Scotland only 45% do.

Yet while the results are unlikely to put a smile on King Charles’s face, they are not, in the end, all that surprising. If anything, they represent a reversion to historic norms, following the fever dream of grief that broke out upon the Queen’s death. Previous surveys on Scottish attitudes to the monarchy have also shown that the Royal Family is not especially popular: shortly before the Platinum Jubilee, for instance, a poll found that fewer than half of Scots supported keeping the monarchy, while the Royals were similarly unloved four years before that. On a visit home last summer, I found that while Tesco had decked out even the frozen meat aisle with “happy and glorious” banners to mark the Queen’s jubilee, it was a lot harder to find signs of celebration in Scottish shops and institutions. The management of the purportedly “Royal” Botanic Garden in Edinburgh had tucked their jubilee sign away in a corner, while at the celebratory garden party in my hometown of Dunfermline, there were no royal souvenirs, not even a mug — although there was a cut out of John Forbes, a long-dead local worthy who founded the city of Pittsburgh.

It may be tempting to connect increasingly negative attitudes to the monarchy with the rise of nationalist sentiment since devolution. Prominent cultural figures, such as the author Alasdair Gray and the SNP politician Margo MacDonald, espoused republicanism. Nicola Sturgeon’s anointed disciple, Humza Yousaf, has vowed not only to break up the UK using “any means necessary”, but also declared on Monday that within five years of independence, he’d expect Scotland to find a new head of state. But republicanism isn’t merely an SNP talking point; Scotland’s bad relationship with monarchy goes back a long way, at least as far back as the Reformation, nearly five centuries ago.

Calvinism, the national philosophy that came to dominate afterwards, is an innately levelling creed, with its cheerful teaching that God has already decided who is saved and who is damned and there is nothing you can do about it. Post-Reformation, the inhabitants of Dunfermline managed to forget where they buried no fewer than seven Scottish kings, including one of the greats, Robert the Bruce, who was only rediscovered by accident in the 19th century. In Scotland, the monarch was not the head of the church; the ministers elected their own leader. John Knox, who spearheaded the Reformation, neither admired nor feared monarchs and reduced Mary Queen of Scots to tears in front of her own court. George Buchanan, the tutor of Mary’s son James, was the author of The Law of Government Among the Scots, wherein he wrote that “the people have the right to confer royal authority upon whomever they wish”, and that they were free to overthrow — and kill — tyrants. Buchanan freely admitted to having “whipped the king’s arse” when the heir to the throne annoyed him.

Chafing against the ideas that his Calvinist tutor had tried to impose upon him, James threw off any restraints on his power as soon as he could, describing monarchy as “the supremest thing on earth” after he became king of England as well as Scotland. His son Charles I attempted to rule in the same way, but when in 1637 he tried to bring the Scottish church to heel by forcing it to accept the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, the people did not meekly comply but rather rose up in anger, resulting in two wars of rebellion. Taking a leaf out of George Buchanan’s book, the Scots did not accept the King’s authority if it conflicted with the will of God (although they later agreed to fight for him when he agreed to support Presbyterianism).

But if the Scots were less than keen on monarchs, then the feeling seems to have been mutual. For a period of almost 200 years, following a brief appearance by Charles II in 1650, no king bothered to make the journey north of the border until George IV (described by Robert Burns as “a witless youth”) toured Scotland in 1822. This trip, in which the portly King appeared in a mini-kilt and pink tights, appears to have presaged a kind of thaw, and inadvertently laid the seeds of today’s heritage industry. Sir Walter Scott, at least, was very excited, and the pageant he organised cobbled together so many Scottish tropes that one resident of Edinburgh complained that he had “ridiculously made us appear to be a nation of Highlanders, and the bagpipe and the tartan are the order of the day”.

However, it was with the ascension of George’s granddaughter, Victoria, to the throne that Scotland really seems to have become integrated into the cult of monarchy. Prince Albert purchased Balmoral for his Queen in 1852 while Glasgow, today the most anti-monarchical place in the UK, was referred to as the Second City of the Empire, a title its inhabitants welcomed with pride. Indeed, the whole city was transformed into a monument to Empress Victoria; a statue of the Queen riding a horse (the first equestrian statue of a woman in the UK) stands close to the City Chambers (which she opened in 1888) to this day. This is easy enough to understand: in those days, Britain was winning at geopolitics, and the Scots wanted to be part of the winners’ club. While nationalists today may sometimes complain that Scotland is England’s last colony, the truth is that the Scots were enthusiastic colonisers themselves, proudly extending and administering the power of the British Empress across the globe.

Yet within a few decades of Victoria’s death, that sense of shared triumphalism vanished. My grandmother grew up in Clydebank in the heyday of the radical Red Clydesiders and remembered red flags flying at rallies in the Twenties and Thirties, while my father recalls attending a birthday party in a “communist chapel” in the early Fifties. He also remembers people booing Churchill when he appeared in cinema newsreels, and yet despite this radicalism, he has no memory of anyone booing the Queen. Indifference rather than hostility was the rule; she seemed “remote”.

Similarly, by the time I was growing up in Fife in the Eighties and Nineties, it was a given that the Royal Family were ludicrously posh and rich and out of touch, but we also accepted that that was kind of the point. Prince Charles may have liked to stride around Lochnagar in a kilt and paint landscapes of the Scottish wilderness, but this did not endear him to the masses; indeed, all that stuff about talking to plants inspired mocking impersonations at my school, and beyond. The Scottish comedian Craig Ferguson took his exceptionally cruel portrayal to the US, where it became a regular feature on his late-night chat show.

For all the talk of the Queen’s love of Scotland, which was emphasised after she died at Balmoral, it does seem that this profound emotional attachment was more than a wee bit correlated with that majestic estate. Although I do not doubt that the Queen was absolutely sincere when she spoke of her “deep and abiding affection for this wonderful country”, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to suggest that anybody who spends every summer in a castle surrounded by beautiful forests could reasonably be expected to love it. Indeed, I might never have emigrated to the US if Balmoral were my holiday home. By contrast, the Queen spent much less time at her official residence, the Palace of Holyrood House in Edinburgh.

Yet for all that, I do not recall meeting many vocal republicans until I went to university, and they were all English. The nationalists that I knew in the Nineties — and I knew somebody who ran (unsuccessfully) for the UK parliament — never talked about the Queen or her family. They weren’t fans, of course, but they didn’t care that they weren’t fans: the Royals were simply irrelevant. It is not until 2004 that the republican “Declaration of Calton Hill” — a spirited call for “an independent Scottish Republic built on the principles of liberty, equality, diversity and solidarity” — was issued, to coincide with the Queen’s visit to open the Scottish parliament. It attracted support from significant Scottish cultural figures such as Iain Banks, the poet Edwin Morgan, and Irvine Welsh. But it was organised by the Scottish Socialist Party, which currently has zero seats in the Scottish parliament. Ever since the days of Alex Salmond’s leadership, the official position of the SNP has been to retain the monarchy.

None of this is to say that I don’t think republicanism could become a serious force in Scottish politics. If Scotland were to become independent, then the lowest hanging fruit for nationalists to go after to maintain their sense of existential purpose would be the abolition of the monarchy, as Humza Yousaf’s sudden interest in republicanism makes clear. But until that day comes, the Royal Family simply will continue to be unpopular in Scotland, and poll after poll will reveal that they are unpopular, but it will not matter at all. Always “there” but never actually present, they will drift by on TV screens, occasionally turn up to open a building, and then go away again.

And Scottish apathy might, in the end, be for the better. Because although it is nice to think that we have an inherent aversion to authority, Scots were actually quite respectful towards Calvinist preachers for many centuries, and — as the willing submission to an extended lockdown revealed — the pursRed-lipped, finger-wagging, moralising style of leadership still has quite a constituency in the country. If not King Charles, then who? I’ll take my chances with the Royals, thank you.


Daniel Kalder is an author based in Texas. Previously, he spent ten years living in the former Soviet bloc. His latest book, Dictator Literature, is published by Oneworld. He also writes on Substack: Thus Spake Daniel Kalder.

Daniel_Kalder

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Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Straying a little off topic, I found this quote included above interesting:
It is not until 2004 that the republican “Declaration of Calton Hill” — a spirited call for “an independent Scottish Republic built on the principles of liberty, equality, diversity and solidarity”
Isn’t there some contradiction between “liberty, equality, diversity and solidarity” ? Doesn’t liberty mean that you’re free not to believe in any of the others ? Can you really have both diversity and solidarity ? But it’s great buzzword bingo stuff.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Definitely “Bingo suff” and also a contradiction in terms.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Definitely “Bingo suff” and also a contradiction in terms.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Straying a little off topic, I found this quote included above interesting:
It is not until 2004 that the republican “Declaration of Calton Hill” — a spirited call for “an independent Scottish Republic built on the principles of liberty, equality, diversity and solidarity”
Isn’t there some contradiction between “liberty, equality, diversity and solidarity” ? Doesn’t liberty mean that you’re free not to believe in any of the others ? Can you really have both diversity and solidarity ? But it’s great buzzword bingo stuff.

Margaret Donaldson
Margaret Donaldson
1 year ago

A friend of mine whom I would never have thought was a royalist, has nothing but praise for King Charles. He puts his money where his mouth is. Asked to buy a crumbling but locally important house in Lanark, (Probably wrong but south of Glasgow), he not only bought it but turned it into a training college for traditional building skills and crafts. Now its graduates work all over Scotland.

After the disastrous floods on the Dee several years ago, Charles oversaw and funded the opening of a very profitable eating place in Ballater, profits from which went back into the community. The food was good too!

Princess Anne is very highly regarded in agricultural circles and regularly visits shows in the NE where folk have learned not to underestimate the depth of her knowledge.

In short, the Royals in Scotland are highly regarded by groups of people whom nobody ever asks but who know their merits.

As for the garden parties at Holyrood, people love them! And they love seeing the Royals. AND the tea is excellent!

Finally, who would WANT to stay in Holyrood Palace for longer than they had to?

Graeme Arnott
Graeme Arnott
1 year ago

He bought Dumfries House in East Ayrshire

Graeme Arnott
Graeme Arnott
1 year ago

He bought Dumfries House in East Ayrshire

Margaret Donaldson
Margaret Donaldson
1 year ago

A friend of mine whom I would never have thought was a royalist, has nothing but praise for King Charles. He puts his money where his mouth is. Asked to buy a crumbling but locally important house in Lanark, (Probably wrong but south of Glasgow), he not only bought it but turned it into a training college for traditional building skills and crafts. Now its graduates work all over Scotland.

After the disastrous floods on the Dee several years ago, Charles oversaw and funded the opening of a very profitable eating place in Ballater, profits from which went back into the community. The food was good too!

Princess Anne is very highly regarded in agricultural circles and regularly visits shows in the NE where folk have learned not to underestimate the depth of her knowledge.

In short, the Royals in Scotland are highly regarded by groups of people whom nobody ever asks but who know their merits.

As for the garden parties at Holyrood, people love them! And they love seeing the Royals. AND the tea is excellent!

Finally, who would WANT to stay in Holyrood Palace for longer than they had to?

Vincent R
Vincent R
1 year ago

I’ve always assumed that the Scot Nats reticence about embracing republicanism is simply to do with not wanting to unnecessarily alienate royalists in their midst, and part of their project to make independence seem less daunting.
Similarly, of course, the Irish sectarian division runs deep in Scotland also. The last thing the SNP would want to do would be to be seen as too close to their nationalist counterparts in Sinn Fein, so embracing the monarchy is a handy, and obvious way, of distancing themselves from other, more contentious, brands of Celtic nationalism.
If and when independence actually happens of course, then all bets would be off.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Vincent R

I think you’re probably right.
Republicanism is also, as the author alludes, just about the sole issue the SNP would have available to pursue if independence was secured. In every other respect, independence would signal the end of its raison d’etre.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 year ago
Reply to  Vincent R

Yes, a poll of people who live in Scotland is utterly different from a poll of Scots (or ‘scotch’ as Rabbie Burns and charlie stanhope calls them). Your last sentence is spot-on.

Oliver Nicholson
Oliver Nicholson
1 year ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

When did the taboo about referring to the Scotch start. The term is used without equivocation by both Sir Walter Scott and R.L. Stevenson. Did it start with Kenneth McKellar and Heather Mixture. It must be one of the earliest examples of the ‘banning’ of a non-obscene word – now the dictionary is full of them.

DA Johnson
DA Johnson
1 year ago

Thank you for this comment–I wondered that also. My American father always used the term “Scotch”, and until recent years I had no idea anyone considered it incorrect. I think he was using the term as he had heard his “Scotch” ancestors use it, so the change must have occurred in the latter half of the 20th century (?)

DA Johnson
DA Johnson
1 year ago

Thank you for this comment–I wondered that also. My American father always used the term “Scotch”, and until recent years I had no idea anyone considered it incorrect. I think he was using the term as he had heard his “Scotch” ancestors use it, so the change must have occurred in the latter half of the 20th century (?)

Oliver Nicholson
Oliver Nicholson
1 year ago
Reply to  Gordon Black

When did the taboo about referring to the Scotch start. The term is used without equivocation by both Sir Walter Scott and R.L. Stevenson. Did it start with Kenneth McKellar and Heather Mixture. It must be one of the earliest examples of the ‘banning’ of a non-obscene word – now the dictionary is full of them.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Vincent R

I think you’re probably right.
Republicanism is also, as the author alludes, just about the sole issue the SNP would have available to pursue if independence was secured. In every other respect, independence would signal the end of its raison d’etre.

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
1 year ago
Reply to  Vincent R

Yes, a poll of people who live in Scotland is utterly different from a poll of Scots (or ‘scotch’ as Rabbie Burns and charlie stanhope calls them). Your last sentence is spot-on.

Vincent R
Vincent R
1 year ago

I’ve always assumed that the Scot Nats reticence about embracing republicanism is simply to do with not wanting to unnecessarily alienate royalists in their midst, and part of their project to make independence seem less daunting.
Similarly, of course, the Irish sectarian division runs deep in Scotland also. The last thing the SNP would want to do would be to be seen as too close to their nationalist counterparts in Sinn Fein, so embracing the monarchy is a handy, and obvious way, of distancing themselves from other, more contentious, brands of Celtic nationalism.
If and when independence actually happens of course, then all bets would be off.

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
1 year ago

Whenever I see Charles in his Scottish fancy dress outfit, complete with a dirk in his sock, I am struck by how ridiculous he looks, as did his father before him. It’s as though they could never dare set foot in Scotland without that Walter Scott invented garb for fear they might insult the Scots. I constantly wonder what Scots make of it.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Phil Rees

Ridiculous? I think he looks quite nice in a kilt and jacket.

Honestly, the Royal attachment to Scottish dress is quite a good advertisement for Scotland. As a tourist to Scotland, all the heathered wools and the tartan cloth catch my eye and bring me back to time spent in actual fields of heather and other spectacular areas of nature there.

I have thought often of Scotland since the Queen’s passing, and think of when I can make another visit.

I can imagine that not all Scots want to be represented by the Highlands and could feel sensitive on that issue and on others. Certainly there are those who like to have a grumble.

Whatever. To steal a line I heard on Gutfeld (American late night comedian) tonight, I like the Scots. Especially their tape.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

Surely that should be SCOTCH TAPE?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

Surely that should be SCOTCH TAPE?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Phil Rees

BRIGADOON.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
1 year ago
Reply to  Phil Rees

What’s the contemporary alternative ? Deep fried Mars Bars and Irn Bru ?

Ronnie B
Ronnie B
1 year ago
Reply to  Phil Rees

It’s not a “dirk in his sock”, but a skean dhu in his stocking. A dirk is much larger, worn on a waist belt and can contain a small knife and fork as well. Other traditional weapons are the highland broadsword, often wrongly called a claymore, which is carried by officers in Scottish regiments, and the double-handed sword, the claymore (from the Gaelic for big sword) – think Braveheart.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ronnie B

No, think Culloden!

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Ronnie B

This begs the question then: why did they name a mine after a double-handed Scottish sword?

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeff Cunningham
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

An American choice, and better than our anti-tank gun named WOMBAT!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

An American choice, and better than our anti-tank gun named WOMBAT!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ronnie B

No, think Culloden!

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Ronnie B

This begs the question then: why did they name a mine after a double-handed Scottish sword?

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeff Cunningham
stephen archer
stephen archer
1 year ago
Reply to  Phil Rees

As a scot I don’t like to see english wearing a tartan unless they are decended from a Scottish clan, which probably very few are. Traditionally, those wearing a tartan kilt should be descended from the appropriate clan. Although I have a lot of respect for King Charles, his wearing of a variation on the Royal Stewart tartan or other of his choice is less than genuine. Generic and modern tartans may be fine for tourists but that’s about it. I’m almost ashamed to say I haven’t worn a kilt since I was eight years old and probably never will again, although I do have a pair of plus fours in the MacLean of Duart Hunting tartan for playing hickory golf , where the dress tartan is possibly the most beautiful of them all.

Oliver Nicholson
Oliver Nicholson
1 year ago
Reply to  stephen archer

The King’s grandmother was a Scot.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

So he’s 1/4th Scot. Is this like “Native Americans”? (I prefer David Reich’s “Original Pioneers”, but nobody would know what I was talking about). Most tribes consider anyone with 1/8th Indian ancestry to be Indian. And if their tribal rolls are getting thinned, they sometimes go to 1/16th. Kind of like a membership drive.

stephen archer
stephen archer
1 year ago

I don’t believe that the Bowes-Lyon or Cavendish-Bentnick families have a clan tartan. She was born in London as was her father. He may have had Scottish titles and been a landowner but I doubt he was through and through Scottish? I’m no nationalist and my father was english, enlisted in the RN during the WW2, whom I’m very proud of, but clans and tartans are basically Highland heritage.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Really? I thought she was the offspring of an Irish chamber maid.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

So he’s 1/4th Scot. Is this like “Native Americans”? (I prefer David Reich’s “Original Pioneers”, but nobody would know what I was talking about). Most tribes consider anyone with 1/8th Indian ancestry to be Indian. And if their tribal rolls are getting thinned, they sometimes go to 1/16th. Kind of like a membership drive.

stephen archer
stephen archer
1 year ago

I don’t believe that the Bowes-Lyon or Cavendish-Bentnick families have a clan tartan. She was born in London as was her father. He may have had Scottish titles and been a landowner but I doubt he was through and through Scottish? I’m no nationalist and my father was english, enlisted in the RN during the WW2, whom I’m very proud of, but clans and tartans are basically Highland heritage.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Really? I thought she was the offspring of an Irish chamber maid.

Oliver Nicholson
Oliver Nicholson
1 year ago
Reply to  stephen archer

The King’s grandmother was a Scot.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Phil Rees

Ridiculous? I think he looks quite nice in a kilt and jacket.

Honestly, the Royal attachment to Scottish dress is quite a good advertisement for Scotland. As a tourist to Scotland, all the heathered wools and the tartan cloth catch my eye and bring me back to time spent in actual fields of heather and other spectacular areas of nature there.

I have thought often of Scotland since the Queen’s passing, and think of when I can make another visit.

I can imagine that not all Scots want to be represented by the Highlands and could feel sensitive on that issue and on others. Certainly there are those who like to have a grumble.

Whatever. To steal a line I heard on Gutfeld (American late night comedian) tonight, I like the Scots. Especially their tape.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Phil Rees

BRIGADOON.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
1 year ago
Reply to  Phil Rees

What’s the contemporary alternative ? Deep fried Mars Bars and Irn Bru ?

Ronnie B
Ronnie B
1 year ago
Reply to  Phil Rees

It’s not a “dirk in his sock”, but a skean dhu in his stocking. A dirk is much larger, worn on a waist belt and can contain a small knife and fork as well. Other traditional weapons are the highland broadsword, often wrongly called a claymore, which is carried by officers in Scottish regiments, and the double-handed sword, the claymore (from the Gaelic for big sword) – think Braveheart.

stephen archer
stephen archer
1 year ago
Reply to  Phil Rees

As a scot I don’t like to see english wearing a tartan unless they are decended from a Scottish clan, which probably very few are. Traditionally, those wearing a tartan kilt should be descended from the appropriate clan. Although I have a lot of respect for King Charles, his wearing of a variation on the Royal Stewart tartan or other of his choice is less than genuine. Generic and modern tartans may be fine for tourists but that’s about it. I’m almost ashamed to say I haven’t worn a kilt since I was eight years old and probably never will again, although I do have a pair of plus fours in the MacLean of Duart Hunting tartan for playing hickory golf , where the dress tartan is possibly the most beautiful of them all.

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
1 year ago

Whenever I see Charles in his Scottish fancy dress outfit, complete with a dirk in his sock, I am struck by how ridiculous he looks, as did his father before him. It’s as though they could never dare set foot in Scotland without that Walter Scott invented garb for fear they might insult the Scots. I constantly wonder what Scots make of it.

Richard 0
Richard 0
1 year ago

Thank you Daniel Kalder. As ever, your writing has insight, humour and a great deal of sense. Please, Unherd, can we have more of DK?

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard 0

Never would be good, after this odd and poorly researched article

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard 0

Never would be good, after this odd and poorly researched article

Richard 0
Richard 0
1 year ago

Thank you Daniel Kalder. As ever, your writing has insight, humour and a great deal of sense. Please, Unherd, can we have more of DK?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Is today’s Censor from Scotland may I ask?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Is today’s Censor from Scotland may I ask?

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

The SNP needs an external foe with which to distract the electorate from dwelling on its own incompetence. Once Westminster can no longer be blamed for everything (although I suspect the shadow will survive for as least as long as Mrs T’s has), the monarchy will make a good replacement distraction.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

The SNP needs an external foe with which to distract the electorate from dwelling on its own incompetence. Once Westminster can no longer be blamed for everything (although I suspect the shadow will survive for as least as long as Mrs T’s has), the monarchy will make a good replacement distraction.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago

I haven’t detected any hostility to Charles in Scotland. Most folk either don’t care or think he’s doing OK as king, better than expected

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago

I haven’t detected any hostility to Charles in Scotland. Most folk either don’t care or think he’s doing OK as king, better than expected

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

The caption photograph says it all!
Both Philip and Charles with knives in their socks! They should both have been charged with ‘carrying a deadly weapon’.

No wonder the Scotch young are disillusioned!
All this pseudo Gaelic ‘Braveheart’ tosh is quite ridiculous, and even worse than the equally laughable Kerrygold Republic.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

I’m sure someone could come up with a suitable caption for the display of royal mirth.
I’ll start with: “The Royal Family enjoy another fine display of Scotsmen tossing their cabers”.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Royal family enjoy another splendid days sport at the annual ‘Highland Games, Cross-Dressing and Trans Gender Championships, held this year at Balmoral Castle.

Ms Nicola Sturgeon and Mr Humza Yousaf (of that Ilk.) were the eventual winners.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Royal family enjoy another splendid days sport at the annual ‘Highland Games, Cross-Dressing and Trans Gender Championships, held this year at Balmoral Castle.

Ms Nicola Sturgeon and Mr Humza Yousaf (of that Ilk.) were the eventual winners.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

I’m sure someone could come up with a suitable caption for the display of royal mirth.
I’ll start with: “The Royal Family enjoy another fine display of Scotsmen tossing their cabers”.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

The caption photograph says it all!
Both Philip and Charles with knives in their socks! They should both have been charged with ‘carrying a deadly weapon’.

No wonder the Scotch young are disillusioned!
All this pseudo Gaelic ‘Braveheart’ tosh is quite ridiculous, and even worse than the equally laughable Kerrygold Republic.

Chris Twine
Chris Twine
1 year ago

The best the Royal Family can hope for is a sort of national apathy towards them.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Twine

Exactly. It’s the “meh” factor that will sustain it. As long as there is no majority which is explicitly and wholly against the Royals, then the trend will be towards the status quo. An irrelevant but harmless head of state who is (or at least should be…) apolitical is probably much preferable to the turbulence and division which you’d have if you tried to change anything.
I’m getting the same sort of vibes from Canadians and Australians too here. It’s not quite so much a love for the monarchy that keeps it in place in those lovely countries – it’s a lack of persuasive alternatives or just an antipathy to messing with a status quo that’s basically peaceful.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Quite. It’s not as if elected heads of state have been a great success. Kurt Waldheim, for example, Katherine.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I can’t comment on the Canadians, but I’d wager the Australians will ditch the Monarchy within the next 20 years. They are much more Americanised , especially the younger generation and the republicanism movement is much more prevalent. I don’t currently see the same attitudes in New Zealand, but that may change if Australia was to become a republic

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Wouldn’t the Kiwis then be more likely to keep the monarchy just to be different and annoy the Aussies? The Islanders at least like a monarch after all.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Possibly, although the Republican movement might become braver and more outspoken. It simply isn’t an issue here currently to be honest

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Possibly, although the Republican movement might become braver and more outspoken. It simply isn’t an issue here currently to be honest

Tony Price
Tony Price
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Wouldn’t the Kiwis then be more likely to keep the monarchy just to be different and annoy the Aussies? The Islanders at least like a monarch after all.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Quite. It’s not as if elected heads of state have been a great success. Kurt Waldheim, for example, Katherine.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I can’t comment on the Canadians, but I’d wager the Australians will ditch the Monarchy within the next 20 years. They are much more Americanised , especially the younger generation and the republicanism movement is much more prevalent. I don’t currently see the same attitudes in New Zealand, but that may change if Australia was to become a republic

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Twine

Exactly. It’s the “meh” factor that will sustain it. As long as there is no majority which is explicitly and wholly against the Royals, then the trend will be towards the status quo. An irrelevant but harmless head of state who is (or at least should be…) apolitical is probably much preferable to the turbulence and division which you’d have if you tried to change anything.
I’m getting the same sort of vibes from Canadians and Australians too here. It’s not quite so much a love for the monarchy that keeps it in place in those lovely countries – it’s a lack of persuasive alternatives or just an antipathy to messing with a status quo that’s basically peaceful.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
Chris Twine
Chris Twine
1 year ago

The best the Royal Family can hope for is a sort of national apathy towards them.

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
1 year ago

While visiting St. Andrews in January of 2022, sitting by the seaside having coffee (this American was surprised it was not tea) with four elderly Glasgow visitors, they assured me that Charles would prove be “just fine” among the Scots.
I did begin to wonder, however, while visiting the notable landmarks and the museum there at St. Andrews. One museum display educated me to the impact that John Knox had had on the members of a local church, when he railed on the idolotry of the Catholics who attended the cathedral down the road. Knox’s righteous anger prompted the StAndrewans to rush down to the papist cathedral and trash the place.
So it seems that Scots do have, generally, some criticisms of their fellow countrymen who are inclined to sumptuous displays of magnifecence, wealth, all that glitters and . . . . the monarchy?
But I am a know-nothing American, although I do live in a Blue Ridge mountain area where hundreds/thousands? of Scots are hosted every summer for our yank version of the Highland games.
I am neutral about the House of Windsor, although I did write, five years ago, a novel, Smoke, the beginning of which took place in London on May 12, 1937, the day that Charles’ grandfather was crowned King of Britain and the Empire on which the sun never sets. My interest about you citizens of Albion was stimulated when I came across, and purchased, an ancient, yellowed, tattered original copy of the Times of London, May 20, 1937. The front cover of that tab special edition, consisted of a letterpress reproduction of an oil painting of the Archbishop of Canterbury placing the Crown upon the head of Charles’ grandfather, George VI.
All of which fascinated me enough to write the story of what was happening on the Continent in 1937, which is, by the way, eerily similar to what is happening across the Channel now. Apparently, Putin is positioning himself to be the Hitler of the 21st-century. And I’m wondering what King Charles and all of yonder Brits will do to fulfill Winston Churchill’s bravely noble knighthood.
Whatever happens, the yank says Cheerio and Chin up!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  LCarey Rowland

Pity about the Cathedral.
It was both the largest and finest medieval building in Scotland, only rivalled perhaps by Elgin, also trashed, as in fact were most Scotch Cathedrals, to the eternal shame of the nation.
What remains is meagre in the extreme, with the sole exception of the splendid St Mungo’s, in Glasgow.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  LCarey Rowland

Pity about the Cathedral.
It was both the largest and finest medieval building in Scotland, only rivalled perhaps by Elgin, also trashed, as in fact were most Scotch Cathedrals, to the eternal shame of the nation.
What remains is meagre in the extreme, with the sole exception of the splendid St Mungo’s, in Glasgow.

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
1 year ago

While visiting St. Andrews in January of 2022, sitting by the seaside having coffee (this American was surprised it was not tea) with four elderly Glasgow visitors, they assured me that Charles would prove be “just fine” among the Scots.
I did begin to wonder, however, while visiting the notable landmarks and the museum there at St. Andrews. One museum display educated me to the impact that John Knox had had on the members of a local church, when he railed on the idolotry of the Catholics who attended the cathedral down the road. Knox’s righteous anger prompted the StAndrewans to rush down to the papist cathedral and trash the place.
So it seems that Scots do have, generally, some criticisms of their fellow countrymen who are inclined to sumptuous displays of magnifecence, wealth, all that glitters and . . . . the monarchy?
But I am a know-nothing American, although I do live in a Blue Ridge mountain area where hundreds/thousands? of Scots are hosted every summer for our yank version of the Highland games.
I am neutral about the House of Windsor, although I did write, five years ago, a novel, Smoke, the beginning of which took place in London on May 12, 1937, the day that Charles’ grandfather was crowned King of Britain and the Empire on which the sun never sets. My interest about you citizens of Albion was stimulated when I came across, and purchased, an ancient, yellowed, tattered original copy of the Times of London, May 20, 1937. The front cover of that tab special edition, consisted of a letterpress reproduction of an oil painting of the Archbishop of Canterbury placing the Crown upon the head of Charles’ grandfather, George VI.
All of which fascinated me enough to write the story of what was happening on the Continent in 1937, which is, by the way, eerily similar to what is happening across the Channel now. Apparently, Putin is positioning himself to be the Hitler of the 21st-century. And I’m wondering what King Charles and all of yonder Brits will do to fulfill Winston Churchill’s bravely noble knighthood.
Whatever happens, the yank says Cheerio and Chin up!

Graeme Arnott
Graeme Arnott
1 year ago

“After years of drifting apart, the United Kingdom suddenly felt united again. It couldn’t last, of course, and it hasn’t”

An odd thing to say in light of the recent fall in support for secession.

Last edited 1 year ago by Graeme Arnott