By a Newsnet reporter

The Church of Scotland is to debate whether the Scottish monarch should have a separate Scottish coronation ceremony should Scotland vote for independence in 2014.

The proposal is to be debated at the Kirk’s General Assembly due to be held next month,  the Kirk says the ceremony would “symbolise their role as Queen or King of Scots”.

Even if adopted, the plan would not affect the current monarch, but subsequent Kings or Queens of Scots would have a coronation ceremony in Scotland, separate from the coronation ceremony in London which would crown them monarch of England Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Kirk believes that a distinctively Scottish coronation ceremony would remind a new King or Queen of their obligations to uphold Scottish traditions.  The monarchy in Scotland has a distinct character from the monarchy in England.  Traditionally the monarch of Scotland is titled King or Queen of Scots, not King or Queen of Scotland, terminology which symbolises that the monarch rules only with the consent of the people.

The report argues that if a single common coronation was to remain after Scottish independence, the existing arrangements and form of the ceremony would have to be revised in order to take the new constitutional settlement into account.

Rev Dr Doug Gay, co-author of the report to be debated by the General Assembly, said:

“The Church of Scotland is a broad church with monarchists and republicans in its membership. However, officially and corporately it remains firmly committed to retaining the monarchy.

“The historic central view of the church is that any monarch is King or Queen of the Scottish people, not the nation of Scotland. They rule only with the consent of the people.

“The church would be in support of a Scottish Coronation to reflect this important role and to celebrate a unique relationship.”

The last monarch to be crowned in Scotland was Charles II.  The ceremony took place at Scone palace, the ancient seat of the Scottish monarchy, in 1651.  The crowns of Scotland and England were united in 1603 when Charles’ grandfather James VI of Scotland inherited the English throne from his cousin Queen Elizabeth I of England.

After the death of Charles II, his brother was crowned James II in a coronation ceremony in London in 1685.  He was due to be crowned separately in Scotland as James VII, but his brief reign was marked by religious strife and rebellions and uprisings.  He was deposed by the Westminster Parliament in 1688.

Monarchs since 1707 have only had coronation ceremonies in London.  However in a private session before the official coronation, the new monarch swears an oath to uphold Scottish religion and legal traditions.

A spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace said the debate was “a matter for the Church of Scotland and not something we would comment on”.


2013-04-26 01:25

Do we really need monarchs any more. Perfect time to do away with that too.
2013-04-26 07:55

Should this discussion not be whether, in a modern, prosperous and independent Scotland, our head of state is selected by the will of the people rather than foisted on us as a result of a random act of sexual congress?
2013-04-26 16:13

Hardly random!

Ben Power
2013-04-26 08:32

Why would we need a separate coronation?
There was not a separate coronation by every nation in the Commonwealth when Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne.

I dare say Charles would not want to be traipsed around being “crowned” in every Commonwealth country. I am willing to bet heavily that would be horrified at the thought of it.

Once crowned the monarch becomes head of state of every country in the Commonwealth who accepts the monarchy as its head of state.

Scots generally want to retain the present monarchy as head of state so current Commonwealth protocols should prevail.
2013-04-26 08:48

There is an assumption that the Scots favour the retention of the monarchy. Where is the evidence? After independence the future of the institution ought to be decided, and quickly, by referendum. That the Kirk thinks this an appropriate use of their energies is, I feel, rather pathetic. What exactly has crowning a monarch got to do with Christianity. Surely they do not hold to the antique notion of the Divine Right of Kings? Or is this a manifestation of a reluctance just to let go of the old order?
2013-04-26 08:59

Ah, but the “Commonwealth” is o longer the “British Commonwealth” and contains republics these days.

Should there be a coronation in an independent Scotland? Yes, but only after a referendum shows that the Scottish people intend to carry on with this anachronism!
2013-04-26 09:12

Have to be honest, of all the issues that the referendum throws up this one ranks pretty near the bottom for me.
Who cares?
call me dave
2013-04-26 09:30

Not me for starters but I’ll suffer the present incumbent until the end of her natural life or abdication. After that no more!

Referendum for Charlie! Can’t see a Yes for him.
2013-04-26 09:30

I do, the monarchy prepetuates the class state in Scotland. In any modern country that the ability of a head of state should be subject to the laws of genetics rather than aptitude, professionalism or democratic mandate is beyond ridiculous.

Obviously however I do agree that this is a debate we should be having after the referendum rather than potentially alienating people now with a policy that may not even win a mandate in a Holyrood election. However I would personally consider it an important manifesto point when chosing who to vote for in the first independent Scottish elections.

2013-04-26 09:29

This is a very welcome move and should be seen as such.
It represents the Kirk accepting and articulating the real possibility of independence and stating how thing things should be done after it
A very significant section of potential SNP support react well to the concept of an independent Scotland in the Commomwealth under the Queen like New Zealand and Canada, need I say many of them at Ibrox of a Saturday afternoon including their manager who has stated this as his position.
We should welcome “game changers” when they come along
2013-04-26 09:31

I think the monarchy is an expensive waste that we do not require. BUT.. Lets look at this rationally. THe C.O.S. has many members who are of a certain age. These people do not like change. Such people are more inclined to vote no. Psycologically they need to feel comportable and secure. If we were to give them a nice fluffy corronation, even go as far as offering the present monarch a re corronation on independence, I bet you would secured their YES votes.
2013-04-26 10:08

I’m a Republican by nature and conviction through and through BUT I’m also a strong believer in democracy. So I’d prefer that the present queen is left “as is” but that on her demise the question of continuing the monarchy v republic is put to the people via a referendum.

Our nation will not have one ‘established’ church – if the constitution is as I expect. So this move by CoS on a standalone basis is very wrong. It could be seen as trying to ‘establish’ CoS for an independent Scotland, I know many folk of all religions (and none) who would be against that.
G. P. Walrus
2013-04-26 13:36

The COS is not an established church and not only has no ambitions to be but the idea would be anathema to most members.
It is important to remember that, though General Assembly can make decisions on behalf of the COS, it remains very much a distributed organisation with individual congregations and members holding a very diverse set of opinions on most subjects.
2013-04-26 13:48

Quoting G. P. Walrus:

The COS is not an established church and not only has no ambitions to be but the idea would be anathema to most members.

I am aware of the status of CoS and it’s stated aim not to be ‘established’ however there was an article just this week (sorry can’t remember where) asking if CoS should be the ‘established’ church in an independent Scotland, so that is why I brought the issue up. It’s important the CoS refutes articles like those whenever/where ever they appear and doesn’t allow themselves to be caught up in (or misrepresented) in the debate, don’t you agree?


2013-04-26 10:37

I’m no Royalist, but monarchs do provide a colourful yardstick about the state of the nation down through the ages. They have a vibrancy about them which mere dates and politics lack. In a couple of centuries or so History might condemn us for getting rid of our monarchy.

I’m unclear whether I’m not connected to the monarchy, or just this monarchy. If we had a bold and forthright monarch whom we all identified as one of us; a true champion who’d give their all for Scotland, I might be more of a Royalist. I don’t mind the glitz if the faith is mutual.

There are more monarchies defined by boring indifference than those immortalized by murderous upset, when a Nation is proud of its king, (or boldest rebel). With no Edward I, there’s no William Wallace; with no Robert the Bruce, there’s no Bannockburn.

Keep it fat, or keep it lean, but keep it I think; but a true Scottish monarchy “extra lite” would feel a better fit, – for now.
edinburgh quine
2013-04-26 13:21

The monarchy may be “colourful” but when they come to Scotland they do so for their holidays so they can wipe out the wildlife on Deeside. They only venture out for highland games etc. So it’s hard to see what ‘colour’ they’ll add to Scotland. Unless we identify a separate stand of ‘royals’ we will get little cost benefit for the present incumbents.

After Independence – 3 (unrigged)refer  endums

Not necessarily in that order but whatever the results, they will be the will of the people in this country and not a perceived will of a few politicians in Holyrood. That’s democracy
Jamie Black
2013-04-26 15:40

Edinburgh quine – refreshing to read your referendum thoughts. IT’s the first time I’ve heard a Yes person suggest that these decisions would be put to the public – until now it has always been pretty much ‘this is what will happen under Indy’.

May I suggest Trident is added? Although polls suggest people in Scotland want it gone (polls the SNP take seriously enough to want it in a constitution), polls also suggest that not many people want INdependence. Therefore Trident must be settled by an unbiased vote.

That is indeed democracy

2013-04-26 13:52

One would have thought that the ‘Kirk” would have been more focused on the debating Scotland’s child poverty and displaced unemployed youth rather than bother with what an Independent Scotland’s impact will be on the next coronation! Little wonder less and less people attend the kirk, completely out of touch with today’s real world.
2013-04-26 14:02

Strange that the CoS and others think that they should be the ones with a monopoly on the royal family, the last I checked they are Church of England members and CoE are in full communion with the Scottish Episcopal Church. That will be an ecumenical matter then. 🙂
2013-04-27 09:02

Not quite so. They’re certainly CoE in England, but they’re presbies in Scotland and free to be atheists or whatever they like in Wales & NI.

See…/… (which glosses over the different levels of “establishment” in England & Scotland)

That said, it would be daft to conflate getting rid of the monarchy with getting rid of Westminster as it could only alienate some potential YES voters and would bring nobody over from the NO side.

Post independence is the time to consider future heads of state.

2013-04-26 14:07

It would be useful to know what the overall situation is concerning monarchs and Lords.
I agree with commentators who say that for the sake of those who would be comforted by having the Monarch (the Queen)we should continue with that, for a time.
But concerning Lords; the Westminster establishment created them, they can keep them. We do not want a second chamber of Lords or should we continue to pay for them.
But I wonder how it would be possible legally to separate out this system into component parts and discard those parts we will not accept.
Independence supporters are at least trying to do things legally, not sure about the anti group.
2013-04-26 20:53

I may be in the minority here, but I think this is good news. I’d like to see a Scots monarch crowned in Scotland. Sorry!

The logical/rational/etc part of my brain is a republican, however the emotional side of my brain is a royalist. I would swear loyalty to a king or queen of Scots, but only if that monarch swears loyalty to the Scots and Scotland above all other peoples and all other lands. Basically they can be monarch of Scots and nothing else. How many kingdoms does one king need after all?

If there is nobody capable of being a good monarch, then why not vote for a Guardian of Scotland? Maybe that might be a good compromise?
wee e
2013-04-27 00:18

It’d be healthier to give it a rest, this doffing the cap to random, mediocre Home Counties couples. But if people are sentimental about it, who cares? Overwhelmed by indifference.
2013-04-27 10:19

Whatever ceremony is attached to it, it is of course the Scottish people who crown the King of Scots, not God or divine right.

Yet if he should give up what he has begun, seeking to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own right and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King; for, as long as a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be subjected to the lordship of the English. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.
Arbroath Declaration. 1320

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