Scotland and the Monarchy

Scottish Royal Arms

Bookmark and Share

Alistair McConnachie addresses some frequently heard claims, highlighted in blue. This article is edited from the Sovereignty Special Report of May 2002, and an article which appeared in Sovereignty, December 2001. It was posted originally on this site on 19 April 2012 and has been added to since.

Free download of "The Jubilee Song", sung by Edward Tudor Pole here www.travelman.co.uk/jubileesong


The Royal title "Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom" is not correct because while she is "the Second" of England, she is only "the First" of Scotland. To be fair to Scotland, and to be correct for the UK, she should be called "Queen Elizabeth I of the United Kingdom" (Posted: 27-6-12)
This parochial pedantry was seized upon by a handful of malcontents back in the early 1950s, two of whom succeeded in taking the matter to law in the case MacCormick v Lord Advocate, [SLT (1953) 255-265, and SC (1953) 396-418] 1. A few vandals also defaced some postboxes, receiving publicity well beyond their efforts.

The case found that the matter of Royal Title was a Royal Prerogative enabling the monarch to adopt any Title he or she chose.

Consequent to the case, a submission by the Crown stated that the Royal Title reflected the highest number of the name from either the Kingdom of England or the Kingdom of Scots. Thus, Elizabeth II, while not the second Elizabeth of "the United Kingdom", was nevertheless the second Elizabeth in the territory which now made up the United Kingdom.

For example, if Prince Charles were to take the Regnal name Alexander, he would be Alexander IV as there have been three Alexanders of Scotland and none in England. Similarly, if he were to take Henry, he would be Henry IX, as there were eight of England and none in Scotland. Or he would be Charles III since there have been 2 in England and none in Scotland. 2

Historically, James I and VI was one king of two kingdoms - hence his two Titles - and although he always wanted to be understood as the one king of the one Kingdom of Great Britain 3, and indeed while he had some success in promoting that goal - the King James Bible styles him in this wonderful way on its frontispiece, for example - it was Queen Anne who was the first monarch of the politically united country.

Certainly at the moment, the contemporary rule on Regnal Numbers is that the highest number of the name in the territory which is now the United Kingdom is adopted. It is fair to both England and Scotland since the lineage of Scotland and England are both considered and included in the calculation.

This was never argued properly at the time by the postal authorities, who acquiesced by removing the Royal Cypher "EIIR" from postboxes and mail vans in Scotland, and thereby granted a spurious victory to the incorrect and misguided logic of a few vandalistic separatists.

(1) The case is also famous for an obiter dicta from Lord Cooper who stated, incidentally, that, "The principle of the unlimited sovereignty of Parliament is a distinctively English principle which has no counterpart in Scottish constitutional law." This opinion - not a ruling - has been seized on ever since by some separatists who imagine it somehow elevates a peculiarly Scottish constitutional view over the English one, leading to some kind of higher moral status for Scottish people! They'll use "Lord Cooper's dictum" to tell you that "in England Parliament is sovereign but in Scotland the people are sovereign." However, Lord Cooper, clearly confused the legal sovereignty of Parliament (any Parliament) to make law, with the democratic sovereignty of the people (any people) to elect that Parliament in the first place. Both of these principles of sovereignty are distinct and are exactly the same whether in England or Scotland. Indeed, democratic societies could not operate if these were not distinct, and crucial, principles accepted by all. We've written more on the subject of the sovereignty of parliament and the sovereignty of the people here.

(2) This system has worked since the Union in 1707 especially since there were no previous Scottish Monarchs called Anne, George, Victoria, Edward or Elizabeth. However, a point of contention revolves around the possible mis-styling of William IV (1830-1837). Prior to the UK, there was also a King of Scots called William (1165-1214). Therefore William IV was the fourth in the sense that the "fourth" was the highest number, but he was not the "fourth" in the territory which had, by then, become the United Kingdom. Technically, he was the fifth. Therefore, an issue may arise with Prince William. He could be considered, under this system, as William the Fifth but he would actually be the Sixth King William in the territory that is now the United Kingdom. It is unclear how this issue will be resolved. Any suggestions welcome!

(3) "King of Great Britain" was how King James preferred to be styled and he issued a Royal Proclamation to that effect on 20 October 1604. See S.T. Bindoff, "The Stuarts and their Style", The English Historical Review, Volume LX, May 1945, 192-216 at 196.


Occasionally, we hear it said, "The Queen is not the rightful Monarch of Scotland, and Prince Bertrand of Brazil, or the Duke of Bavaria, has a better claim to the Scottish throne than Prince Charles"
This attitude seeks legitimacy in the past rather than the present, and ignores the reality of the past 300 hundred years of history.

It is to live in nostalgia. How far into the past do you want to go to seek 'the legitimate line'?

If you go all the way back into the past, you will find that what you may term 'the legitimate line' was considered by others at the time to be illegitimate. The Stuarts, for example, were not recognised by all the Scottish population.

The combination of kinship, kingship and nation is described respectively in the Scots' term "the community of the realm of Scotland". Nations have Monarchs; Offsprings borne of the Kindred. In this regard, the late Sir Iain Moncreiffe, who was one of the world's foremost genealogists, wrote in Books and Bookmen magazine (July, 1977) that Prince Charles descends from Mary Queen of Scots 17 times over; that is, by eight separate blood lines through King George V and Queen Mary, also nine more through Prince Philip.

In any case, the Windsors are the legitimate Monarchs of Scotland by the terms of the Act of Settlement. George III was the first rightful King of Scots by the terms of this Act, which states that the ruling family had to live 3 generations in the country.


"What has the Queen ever done for Scotland?"
(Question asked in a letter in The Herald from Andrew McCrae, 10-5-12.)

As monarchists, we don't look on the monarchy in a utilitarian way. That is, we don't measure her worth by what she "does" or does not do for us personally or nationally. For us, the Queen is valuable for just being the Monarch. Just as a mother or father is valuable for just being a mother or father.

Therefore, to even ask this question is not appropriate. It doesn't deserve an answer. It is like answering the question, "What has your mother ever done for you?" She's my mother. That's good enough for me.

However, we will say 3 things:
1. She has reigned as Queen of Scots for 60 years. That's what Queens do. They reign!

2. Consequent to this reign, she has performed the duties of a Head of State admirably. That is, acted as an ambassador for the nation, whether Scotland or Britain, and represented it well both to itself and to the world. We are not asking for more than that.

3. No doubt, someone could theoretically initiate a full cost/benefit analysis into everything that the Queen has quote/unquote "done" financially or socially for Scotland in the past 60 years. But really, why bother just to satisfy anti-monarchists who would simply dismiss the report out-of-hand anyway.


We also hear it said occasionally, by some extremely uninformed people:
"The fifth verse of the National Anthem is anti-Scottish"
Some republicans like to try to claim that "the fifth" verse of the National Anthem is "God grant that Marshal Wade ... Rebellious Scots to crush". Some very uninformed people even imagine it to be "the second verse" or the "third verse". Of course, if this were really the case, it would be absurd.

The fact is that the anachronistic "Rebellious Scots to crush" verse is not, and never was, part of an official national anthem, because there has never been an official version.

Presently, there are four commonly accepted verses - the fourth of which was added by William Hickson in the nineteenth century and reads: Nor on this land alone/But, be Gods mercy's known/From shore to shore/Lord make the nations see/That men should brothers be/And form one family/The wide world o'er.

Since the first version was played at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane - which most certainly did not include any such verse, in September 1745, there have been many verses added by different authors, but most very quickly became anachronistic, including the "Rebellious Scots to crush" verse which is a reference to the Jacobites.

There are literally scores of "fifth" verses, as a reading of God Save the Queen: The History and Romance of the Worlds First National Anthem by Percy A. Scholes (London: Oxford University Press, 1954) makes evident. There is even a verse about putting "Yankees in a fix".

The "Rebellious Scots" verse, therefore, is not "the fifth verse", rather it is "a" verse - one of many. Moreover, it is a verse last sung, if at all, in the eighteenth century. It was probably not written by the person who wrote the first verse, nor even the person who added the second and third.

The anti-Jacobite sentiment, if uttered, would have been approved by many Scots, including the entire Church of Scotland, who were likewise against what they considered to be the threatening Catholicism of the Stuarts.

Buckingham Palace has never approved any version, believing the words evolve by accepted tradition rather than official decree. The official website of the British Monarchy states: "There is no authorised version of the National Anthem as the words are a matter of tradition. Additional verses have been added down the years, but these are rarely used. It lists only only two verses, at ww.royal.gov.uk/MonarchUK/Symbols/NationalAnthem.aspx to which it appears thereby to lend its approval.

The Queen and Prince Philip in George Square, Glasgow 4-7-12

These are the same two verses which have been listed in the Church of Scotland's "Church Hymnary" since 1898.

Anyone who imagines this was, or is, "the second verse", or "the third verse" or "the fifth verse", or an "official" verse, of today's National Anthem, and quotes, prints, or sings it as such, is just plain wrong.

HM the Queen and Prince Philip greet the crowds in George Square, Glasgow, Monday 4 July 2012, around 1pm. Pic copyright taken by Alistair McConnachie.


Footnote, added Thursday 26 April 2012:
An extraordinary letter appeared in The Scotsman newspaper on Friday 13 April 2012, from a person claiming that the "Rebellious Scots to crush" verse appeared in the official Church of Scotland "Church Hymnary" appended to the back of a King James Bible issued by the Boy's Brigade. This person claims that he was forced to sing the verse from this Hymnary in 1965. This is simply not credible.

We sent the following letter to The Scotsman on the evening of 14 April. Disappointingly, and quite extraordinarily, it was not published.

Dear Sir

Iain Lennox says that he was expected to sing a supposed "Rebellious Scots to crush" verse of the National Anthem at a church service in 1965, which he claims appeared in a Church of Scotland "Church Hymnary", appended in the back of a King James Bible issued by the Boys Brigade (Letters, 13 April).

The facts are that the Church of Scotland produced official Hymnarys in 1898, 1927 and 1973. Today I studied Church of Scotland Hymn Books containing the Hymnary and published in 1910, 1924, 1925, 1927, 1932, 1937, 1965 and 1978, all of which cover the time period of the three editions. The offending verse does not appear in any. Only the first two verses of the Anthem appear in all Hymnarys, as they appear today on the British Monarchy website.

Moreover, it is certainly not possible that the Boys Brigade would include any verses which were not authorised by the Church of Scotland and listed in its official Hymnary.

I have no reason to doubt Mr Lennox's claim that he was expected to sing the verse, but it would not be from the Hymnary. Perhaps he is mis-remembering things. Perhaps it was from a song sheet produced by some local over-zealous Protestant anti-Jacobite.

I challenge Mr Lennox to (as he says) "go ahead, make my day" and produce a copy of such a Boys Brigade Bible, with the verse included. I would be amazed and fascinated to be mistaken.

Does the Church of Scotland, or the Boys Brigade, have anything to say on this matter?

For consideration for publication.

Yours faithfully
Alistair McConnachie


Help us Raise Money via Amazon: Here is a way you can help us cover our running costs. We get a commission on products which are purchased on Amazon after the customer has arrived at Amazon via clicking on an item in one of our Amazon widgets (as below). This includes products which are not listed on the widget but which you find after arriving on Amazon via this portal. For example, if you click on an item below, get taken to Amazon and then move around to purchase an item, of any value, then we will receive a percentage of your purchase. Depending upon the product - for example, watches and jewellery - it can be up to 10%. Books are 5%. The product costs exactly the same to you whether it is accessed via our site or directly, and nor do you have to purchase the item we have recommended. Therefore, any time you want to purchase from Amazon, please get in the habit of reaching it through any of our widgets. This can really help us. Thank you!
[Legal Statement: Alistair McConnachie is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk ]


If you appreciate this article, please consider donating using any of the links at the top right of this page; or send a cheque, details on our Donate page. You can also stay in touch with what we do by signing-on to receive our free regular Update email - simply enter your details in the 'Receive Free Newsletter' box at the top right of this page. You can find out more about A Force For Good at the About page. And here is a link to Alistair McConnachie's Google Profile.


Bookmark and Share