Tuesday, 21 May 2013
A Stuart Restoration to the Scottish Crown in an independent Scotland?
Towards the end of this article in the Herald Scotland (http://www.heraldscotland.com/mobile/politics/political-news/galloway-attacked-for-snp-catholic-slur.21116305?_=ae30b8a933a78e2172be69dea63c7fb56e0d0b37) I noticed something which may prove to be of momentous significance. Here is the quotation:-
"SNP MSP Bob Doris said:- "It is the Westminster Parliament .... which institutionally discriminates against Catholics in the Act of Settlement – discrimination which an independent Scotland can and will consign to the dustbin of history in a written constitution for the 21st century."
The Act of Settlement is the law which governs who can be crowned Monarch. In a way you might say the comment shows that the SNP are now committed to maintaining the Monarchy. When I first met anybody with influence within the SNP I did point out that, by their then wholly republican stance, they were alienating support. I suggested that they talked about maintaining the Monarchy and retaining the unity of the Crown as a social union. I suggested if they did then their support was likely to be enhanced. I was therefore pleased when my suggestion seemed to be acted upon and feel sure that the decision to do so has helped them up till now.
However what is suggested by the above words is rather more radical than might appear at first appear.
Consider for a moment the British Government’s recent tinkering with the Act of Settlement. Here is an article which explains some of the detail.
In round terms we will now have, if and when all the Commonwealth governments adopt it, a significant change to the rule excluding Roman Catholics.
A Roman Catholic will not be able to actually become King or Queen but could marry a Roman Catholic as long as their children are Church of England, then they still can be in the line of succession to potentially become King or Queen. Not all the Commonwealth governments have as yet ratified this so therefore this Act has not yet come into force, although it has been passed by the Westminster Parliament.
If the above quotation is accurate it would appear however that the SNP intend to adopt a different rule which allows for an actual practising Catholic to be Monarch.
It should be remembered that the only reason that a relatively obscure German princely family from Hanover, and then subsequently an even more obscure princely family from Saxe-coberg became our Royal Family is because of the Protestant succession. Indeed George I (originally the elector Georg Ludwig of Hanover) was placed something like 40th in the normal line of hereditary succession to the throne. All the others before him who were Catholics were excluded by the Act of Settlement. Indeed the senior line of succession for both the Crowns of England and of Scotland continued and arguably continue to this day in the Stuart family.
This comment by the SNP therefore opens up the prospect of a restoration of the Stuarts to the throne of Scotland. It is perhaps even more surprising that the comment suggests that an independent Scotland, by pursuing a separate line of succession, would cease to be members of the Commonwealth.
I wonder if this is what was really meant, or whether this is merely indicative of a lackadaisical and casual ignorance of their significance? If the latter then it may bring a storm down on the ears of Mr Doris. What do you think?