Kirk to debate Scottish coronation for future monarchs

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   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”.