ROYAL intervention in the second independence referendum could bolster Republican arguments for an elected head of state, a top historian has said.

Professor Sir Tom Devine said that any attempts by the monarchy to wade in on the indyref debate would be a “cack-handed” approach that would have the opposite effect of its intentions. 

It comes amid reports there are fears in the Royal Household that politicians are “losing Scotland”, and plans for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to spend more time up north as part of the UK’s “love-bombing” mission to save the union. 

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The National:

However, Scotland’s leading historian has said that involving the monarch in such a highly political debate could actually prop up the Republican cause for an elected head of state. 

Devine said that it would change the perception of the royal family. He said: "If this ill-framed plan goes ahead the royals will be seen to have become politicised on one of the great issues of our time.

"The House of Windsor will not be regarded as coming out in support of the Union of Crowns but rather, rightly or wrongly, of being used by unionist politicians to shore up a controversial political union, the future of which currently divides the Scottish nation down the middle.

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"Ironically, this cack-handed approach may only give comfort to the substantial number of nationalists who wish for an elected head of state in the event of independence. 

“That way lies real danger for the Crown in Scotland."

Pointing to a YouGov poll from March where 63% of adults in the UK said they wished to maintain the royal family, compared to only 50% of Scots, which was also the lowest figure for any part of the UK. 

The National:

Devine added: "That should be a clear warning to the royals that they need to treat Scotland with great care.

"In a constitutional monarchy they have to avoid being in any way publicly involved in politics and especially in matters of current bitter constitutional controversy."

The historian explained that current SNP policy isn’t a threat to the monarchy if an independent Scotland became a reality, because although the Treaty of Union would be repealed but the Queen and her successors would remain monarchs of Scotland as queens or kings of Scots.

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Rather than young royals - such as William and Kate -  "love bombing the Scots", Devine said the Queen should advise the Prime Minister "of the importance of returning to the tradition of partnership and respect for Scotland".

He claimed that Boris Johnson had "brazenly undermined that long tradition which gave stability to the union state and by so doing have contributed more to the present constitutional crisis than any number of militant Scottish nationalists".