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Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Impact of Scotland's Independence

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of 
Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
She has been on the British throne since 1952. She is also Head of State of the nations under the Commonwealth Realms most prominently, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. As a monarch, the Queen is above politics, she reigned but not governed and her duties are purely ceremonial, but her role is formidable, she can pardon offenders, dissolve parliament and declare war, people under her territories are not citizens but subjects, and the oath of allegiance is not on the nation nor the government but on her. 

Once upon a time during the Tudor Dynasty, Henry VIII, decided to exclude his sister, Margaret, who by then married the Scottish King, James IV Stuart, and her descendants in the line of succession to the English throne because he did not want foreign rulers to occupy England. His fear of losing the throne to Scottish rulers came to life when his younger daughter, who ascended the throne as Elizabeth I, died without direct successors.

The English court restored Margaret's descendants to the line of succession and declared her grandson, James VI, as Elizabeth's legitimate successor. James VI became James I, the first Stuart monarch in England, and ultimately united the two Kingdoms forming the geographical name of Great Britain. Since then, all monarchs that followed, from Hanovers to Saxe-Coburg-Gothas to Windsors, were all descendants of the Stuarts, however not direct, as the founder of Hanover, who inherited the throne from the childless Queen Anne, the last of the Stuart, was a great grandson of James I. 

Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, if fate would favor on him and would one day mount the British throne as William V, he would be the first monarch to directly descend from James I. William's mother, the late, Diana, Princess of Wales, was a Stuart descendant through her two direct ancestors, the Duke of Richmond and the Duke of Grafton, who were both sons of Charles II, grandson of James I.

Now centuries had passed and this part of English history might just be part of the old world, but sometimes history would repeat,  in a way that surprises everyone,  it could be in another twist but on the same pattern of circumstances.

Scotland indeed surprises the world with its intention to become an independent country, whatever the roots, reasons, arguments and justifications behind it, only the parliament and the Scottish MPs know and since royals supposed to be above politics, the Queen chose to remain silent on the issues.

And so do I...

I will just talk instead on what would be the impact of Scotland's impending independence to the royal family.

There are properties of the royal family in Scotland and most of the titles of its senior members are tied with the Scottish territories and history. The Queen's husband, Prince Philip,carries the title of the Duke of Edinburgh, a noble house that honors the capital of Scotland. The Queen's heir-apparent, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, has a secondary title of Duke of Rothesay, which had been used by the heir-apparent to the Scottish throne before the personal union of Scotland and England. The Queen's second son, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, has a second title of Earl of Inverness, a Scottish Earldom and so Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, who has a secondary title of Earl of Strathearn, another Scottish Earldom.

The fate of these titles might also depend on the extent of Scotland's draft of their constitution should the majority will vote for yes. It might be allowed to retain as their courtesy title, but will never use officially when they will visit Scotland. Prince Charles when in Scotland is always address as Duke of Rothesay, this will not be the case from then on if Scotland will officially separate from the United Kingdom,

The royal family has private properties in Scotland most prominently Balmoral Castle, the Queen's summer retreat. It is not part of the crown property as it is traditionally private and usually inherited by the monarch's eldest son. If Scotland will declare independence this will not be turned over to the government but this will be subjected to the government policies on real estate properties.

Scotland's move to become independent might set a precedent to Wales and Northern Ireland and the palace courtiers wanted to avoid this at all cost. Though the Queen is said to be just civil with the issues and does not want to influence the poll, her courtiers are singing a different tune and the palace machines seemed on the front line.

Just weeks before the poll is held, the palace announced that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their second child. The timing of the announcement was notorious and it was being viewed by some analysts as a contingency plan to catch up with those who want to stay under the turf of the British Kingdom.

Royal babies provide delight to the subjects and whatever news related to royal infants bring inspiration. I might be accused as insensitive or hostile, but I am referring to history. Royals never actually announce pregnancies unless being provoked by the media or if the "baby bump" is already evident, thus, the surprise announcement of the Kate's pregnancy is a sort of a rubbish. She could be pregnant but can the palace wait for her abdomen to show some bumps before they hastily made an announcement?

I remember when she was pregnant with Prince George, they tried avoiding the pregnancy issue and waited months before the palace confirmed the speculations. And now, before the media could print a single speculation on the changes of her body, a surprise announcement came up.

Oh, just an opinion....

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