Windsor Behaves As She Should on Scottish Independence

But Motives May Be Doubted

The monarchists like to tell us that a great advantage of their feudal institution is that it ensures a politically neutral head of state. But as the vote on independence for Scotland becomes close the news media has reported that some politicians want hereditary head of state Windsor to speak out in favour of the union.

Labour MP Simon Danczuk told the Telegraph newspaper that an intervention by Windsor “would mean something to the people of England and Scotland. It would be welcomed.”

There is a precedent for what Mr. Danczuk and other monarchists want. In 1977 Windsor did express her opinion on devolution to Welsh and Scottish legislative assemblies. She said that “Perhaps this . . . 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.”

But the risks for the feudal family are greater this time.

Windsor may think it wise to be more circumspect now because the Scottish National Party has promised to keep her as monarch of an independent Scotland. Upsetting the SNP might not be wise therefore. Particularly as the SNP’s monarchism is sometimes suspected to be just a tactic to win the vote of monarchist Scots.

There is also the matter of the Crown Estate assets in Scotland. The family is currently allowed to skim 15% a year from the Estate’s profits. It would not want to put that at risk. Furthermore the attitude the Scottish Parliament has shown towards property rights may make Windsor fearful for her real estate interests north of the border if she loses favour with Scots.

Government ministers are reported to be “pessimistic” about Windsor publicly expressing her opinion on the future of Scotland. But while the monarchists may not have their way this time, you can be sure that as usual the monarch will.