Queen Elizabeth II: Sturgeon gives reading at thanksgiving service
Nicola Sturgeon’s dream of an independent Scotland has been dealt a crushing blow after the publication of a report suggesting support has plummeted by seven points since the death of Queen Elizabeth at Balmoral Castle. And one Royal commentator has predicted the Scottish First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) will maintain a diplomatic silence in the coming weeks, sensing now was not the best time to press her case.
The Deltapoll survey suggests if there was a referendum tomorrow, 42 percent would back independence, compared with 49 percent a month ago.
In addition, 28 percent of those asked believed the Queen’s death on September 8 had strengthened the Union, compared with 18 per cent who felt it had weakened it.
Jonathan Sacerdoti, a journalist and royal expert who is a regular contributor to Sky News and the BBC, told Express.co.uk: “I suspected over the last few days there would have been a bump in support for the Union in Scotland, and that’s because I think the Queen was Queen of Scots, as well as the Queen of the United Kingdom and Queen down here in the south.
Queen Elizabeth Nicola Sturgeon
Members of the Public gather by a makeshift memorial to pay respects as they wait for the hearse
“The fact that she died in Scotland, and her first part of her journey before her funeral on Monday was through Scotland was not just a question of practical concerns, it was also deeply symbolic and represented her massive commitment to Scotland and genuine personal passion.
“I think that Prince Charles is also seen as somebody with a deep personal connection to Scotland.”
Mr Sacerdoti cautioned: “Whether or not it will be a permanent shift in opinion, I think remains to be seen.
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Crowds gather to see the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II leave from St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
“In the same way that the days of mourning and the days to come still after the funeral will have been a boost for national unity, in so many ways, as life goes back to normal with normal matters, non-royal matters, entering people’s minds again, and replacing that sense of unity that we’re feeling now, it might be the people’s opinions shifts back somewhat.
“So I don’t think we can say the Queen in her death have saved the Union necessarily, but I do think that it will have an effect and that effect may be lasting even if it wanes a little bit.”
With specific reference to Ms Sturgeon’s frequently stated wish for Scotland to be an independent nation, Mr Sacerdoti said: “I would say that in the same way as Anthony Albanese, the Australian Prime Minister, has said that he’s going to steer clear of a referendum for becoming a republic, I’m sure Nicola Sturgeon will also realise that certainly now, the next few weeks, may not be the most fertile weeks for her cause.
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Princess Anne, Princess Royal looks from the window of a car following the Queen’s hearse
Pallbearers from the Queen’s Colour Squadron of the Royal Air Force (RAF) carry the coffin of Queen
“And of course, I think she has a deep respect for a Majesty the Queen anyway.
“I also understand Scottish nationalism under Nicola Sturgeon has been generally sensitive with respect to the monarch, even with an independent Scotland.
“I think it is true that she is unlikely to be her most strident during this time, when there is such a feeling of unity and I think King Charles sensible to tour all of the nations so quickly after the passing of the Queen.
Foreign Royals confirmed for the Queen’s funeral
“I think it was a very clear symbol of unity and a clear sign that four nations are united in that respect in the United Kingdom, and that’s the intention of that trip and those travels.
“So I do think that Nicola Sturgeon is unlikely to use this as an opportunity to push her cause, but that doesn’t mean that she’s finished and done.”
Speaking after the Queen’s death, Ms Sturgeon released a statement in which she said: “For more than 70 years, Queen Elizabeth has been the great constant in our national life.
“She has inspired us, on occasion comforted us and always personified values we hold dear.
Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth share a joke at the Highland Games in Braemar
“Throughout her reign she performed her duties with exceptional wisdom, dedication and fidelity.”
She added: “Scotland loved, respected and admired her.
“And by all accounts, Her Majesty was rarely happier than when she was here in Scotland at her beloved Balmoral – a fact I have been privileged to observe personally.
“I hope it will be a source of comfort to her family that she spent her final days in a place that she loved so much.”