Queen Elizabeth will not speak on Scotland referendum: palace

9th September 2014, Comments 0 comments

Queen Elizabeth will not enter the debate on next week's Scottish independence referendum, Buckingham Palace said on Tuesday, as polls showed the campaign on a knife edge.

The clarification came after reports in the British media that the queen was concerned about a possible break-up of the United Kingdom, and that Prime Minister David Cameron was under pressure to ask the monarch to intervene.

"The sovereign's constitutional impartiality is an established principle of our democracy and one which the Queen has demonstrated throughout her reign. As such the monarch is above politics and those in political office have a duty to ensure this remains the case," a spokesman for Buckingham Palace said.

"Any suggestion that the Queen would wish to influence the outcome of the current referendum campaign is categorically wrong. Her Majesty is simply of the view this is a matter for the people of Scotland."

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, the leader of the pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign, said on Tuesday that he had met the queen at her Scottish home Balmoral Castle two weeks ago.

"I think Her Majesty the Queen, who has seen so many events in the course of her long reign, will be proud to be Queen of Scots, and indeed we would be proud to have her as monarch of this land," Salmond said.

Queen Elizabeth did speak out on a similar issue in 1977, when there was growing calls for more powers to be devolved to Scotland and Wales, in her "Silver Jubilee" marking her 25th year as monarch.

"I number kings and queens of England, and of Scotland, and princes of Wales among my ancestors. And so I can readily understand these aspirations. But I cannot forget that I was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland," the queen told parliament then.

"Perhaps this Jubilee is a time to remind ourselves of the benefits which union has conferred, at home and in our international dealings, on the inhabitants of all parts of this United Kingdom."

The Scottish government says that Queen Elizabeth would remain head of state in an independent Scotland, as she is in nations such as Australia and Canada.

The queen has a close personal relationship with Scotland, traditionally spending her summer break in Balmoral Castle, a vast estate of forests and farmland that has been property of her family for generations.

© 2014 AFP

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