A YEAR on from the Queen’s death, it’s clear that the monarchy in Scotland should have ended with her death.

When we think of Britishness, the royal family is often one of the first things that comes to mind but “The Firm” couldn’t be more irrelevant here as we mark 12 months since Charles became King – and it is arguably yet another symbol of outdated and wrong the Union is.

I’m of the opinion that the institution, at the very least, should have died in Scotland with the Queen, especially when its continued existence has resulted in outrageous decisions like the erection of portraits of the King in Scottish public buildings amid a cost of living crisis at an estimated expense of £8 million.

It wouldn’t take a genius to work out that the money could be better spent on free meals for people who are struggling. I’m not alone in thinking this either. A Savanta poll earlier this year found that just a third of Scots supported the unelected monarchy. And yet it persists.

One Scot told me the erection of the portraits is nothing more than an attempt to “normalise” and “perpetuate” the monarchy to a new audience – one which is growing up in a Scotland with fewer opportunities than when the Queen took the throne in 1952, with nothing more than skeletal remains of Scotland’s once-thriving industrial past.

In a Union that is now, more than ever, divided by wealth, it only stands to reason that people would have a problem with a family who were quite literally born with silver spoons in their mouths.

The National: King Charles III and Queen Camilla during the Braemar Gathering highland games held a short distance from the royals' summer retreat at the Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire. Picture date: Saturday September 2, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story ROYAL

Even in England, the monarchy appears to be nothing more than a historical curiosity and, writing as a journalist who works there, I remember working on stories after her death that weren’t so much about the Queen herself, but the bizarre public response, such as the woman who visited the lying in state at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh a whopping seven times; an act that saw the event jokingly compared to the log flume at Alton Towers.

When Prince Harry released his memoir Spare, in January, in an apparent act of rebellion, sales were inevitably compared to titles by other authors. The book was pirated for free online – something I saw on social media, where at least one English person I knew chose to circulate it.

While there’s an argument to be made that the monarchy brings a lot of tourists into the UK, and especially London, I seriously doubt that many who involved themselves in the death of the Queen in Scotland would have bothered to see her cortege if it hadn’t passed by their very doorsteps.

As a Scot who saw the lying in state in Westminster Hall, I went for the spectacle more than anything – the queue was something of a physical endurance test – and the story (I even made notes to write about it at a later date).

When I passed the Queen’s coffin, I couldn’t help but think of my late grandmothers. If the Queen represented anything to me, and many others, it was that she was a person who’d been around our entire lives. She was the longest reigning monarch in history – a feat that neither King Charles nor even Prince William can even contemplate rivalling unless we end up in a situation where people regularly begin living to over 120.

One Scottish history student who saw the event in Edinburgh told me that she went because it was more than a once-in-a-lifetime event, noting that the Queen was the first monarch to die in Scotland since James V in 1542.

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Like myself, she wanted to write about the event and admitted that as a former monarchist, she wanted to see if she’d experience any emotion upon seeing the coffin but admitted that she didn’t feel “very much”.

She also noted the unique position that the Queen had to people living in the Union, adding: “If there were was [a] connection between a monarch and the people, she would be the one we’d all feel it with.”

Even at a linguistic level, something really did die with the Queen. We call it the “Queen’s English”, and I doubt that will be updated to reflect the change of monarch.

It shouldn’t be either, especially in Scotland where the First Minister only this week pledged to introduce a bill in the new parliamentary year to protect Scottish languages – namely, Scots and Scottish Gaelic – again reinforcing the fact that Scotland very much has a different cultural identity from the rest of the supposedly United Kingdom.

While there is some evidence that even the new king has embraced Scots of all languages – he sang a bothy ballad on When Ant and Dec Met The Prince (2016) – even he is arguably a victim of the monarchy, which prevented him from marrying Camilla as a younger man because of the then-outrageous standard that his bride had to be – or at least appear to be – a virgin.

The Queen came to the throne in a very different United Kingdom that was arguably more united than it is today, having just emerged from the trauma of the Second World War.

She was young, beautiful, and a natural symbol of hope for the future. Now, the ageing monarch is nothing more than a symbol of an outdated Union that’s crippled Scotland since 1707.