It will not have gone unnoticed by many that the chief minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, the main promoter of this nation’s desire for independence, read this Monday the third chapter of the book of ecclesiastes before the coffin of Isabel II, in the cathedral of St. Giles (Edinburgh). “There is a time to throw stones and a time to collect them; a time to embrace and a time to part.
When Carlos III entered the Holyrood Parliament in Edinburgh on Monday, dressed in the kilt traditional (the tartan skirt, with pictures), was aware that this act, more modest in its solemnity than the ceremony in which he had participated hours before in the Parliament of Westminster, in London, had a much greater importance for his inaugurated reign. elderly. Given the constitutional change that is opening in the United Kingdom, the territorial tension and the separatist desire —especially in Scotland— see an opportunity for progress.
The autonomous assembly has wanted to approve its own motion of condolence for the death of Elizabeth II. It has been read by Sturgeon, who has remembered all his good times shared with the monarch, both at the Balmoral residence and in her many official meetings. “She was the anchor of this nation (…). She fulfilled her obligations with dedication, wisdom and a deep sense of public service”, said the nationalist leader. The relevant, however, came next: “We feel deeply honored by the presence here today of his majesty, Carlos III, and the queen consort. Your Majesty, we stand ready to support him as he pursues his own life of public service, and she continues to build on the extraordinary legacy of his beloved mother,” Sturgeon said. A time to throw stones. Another to separate.
The Scottish independence movement, but especially the main leaders of the Scottish National Party (SNP), have always expressed their commitment to retain Elizabeth II as queen, in the event that secession finally occurs. “She has always expressed knowledge, information about this land, and even a passion for Scotland worthy of note,” Sturgeon told the BBC these days. Carlos III is the flour of another costal. His main task in that part of the country over which he now reigns, if he wants to help prevent new territorial fractures in the United Kingdom, will be to conquer, as his mother did, the hearts of the majority of the Scots. According to the survey carried out last May by the foundation and think tank British Future, just 45% of Scots want the Monarchy to remain their future form of government, compared to almost 70% who want it in England. The most relevant aspect of that same survey, however, is that 36% of those consulted considered that the end of the reign of Elizabeth II would be the appropriate time to become a republic.
“King Charles III takes office at a time of great political turbulence and upheaval in the UK. There are ongoing discussions about the independence of Scotland or the reunification of Ireland, increasingly intense. And that have been identified even more as a consequence of Brexit. Is he going to be the monarch who presides over the end of the Union? ”, Colin Harvey, professor at the School of Law at Queen’s University in Belfast, asks in conversation with EL PAÍS.
In the middle of this year, Sturgeon surprised the then Government of Boris Johnson with a studied and prepared challenge. There would be a new independence referendum on October 19, 2023. And given London’s refusal to authorize it, as it did with the 2014 referendum (when it did not win with 55%), it would be the Scottish Autonomous Assembly that would approve the law necessary. But, and this but is very relevant, before they would wait for the Supreme Court to validate the legality of this formula.
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An era has passed from all this. The prime minister was Boris Johnson, detested by the majority of Scots, who was held responsible above all other politicians for a Brexit rejected by the majority in that territory. The queen was Elizabeth II, respected by that same majority. Carlos III and the new prime minister, Liz Truss, share their status as unknown to many citizens. Unfairly in the case of the former, because few crown princes have worn more kiltThey have taken their musical first steps with the bagpipes, they have pronounced Gaelic texts more accurately, they have studied more the traditions and history of that nation and they have spent more time in it. However, it is Elizabeth II who is associated with the happy summer days at Balmoral Castle, and, above all, with her words of support for the Scottish autonomy adventure, when the new Holyrood Parliament was inaugurated in October from 2004.
Charles III and the Parliament of Westminster
The British Monarchy is first and foremost an English question. If the ceremony in the Scottish Parliament acquired an unquestionable political relevance, the one held in Westminster Hall during the morning had a powerful symbolism for the rest of the country.
The demonstrations of loyalty to the new monarch by the presidents of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and the respect expressed by Carlos III before the sovereign Parliament finished sewing the seams of a constitutional scheme altered with the death of the monarch, and immediately recomposed. “I cannot help feeling today the full weight of history that surrounds us,” said the king. “Parliament is the living instrument of our democracy, with its ancient traditions,” he assured in the same hall that was the funeral chapel of Winston Churchill or the scene of the state dinner in honor of Nelson Mandela, and where for a time it was exhibited in a goad in the head of Oliver Crommwell, the only character who briefly dared to create a republic.
Charles III quoted Shakespeare, the universal English bard, in London. In Edinburgh, he opted for the Scottish national poet, Robert Burns.
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