The Queen has been photographed beaming as she attended an armed forces parade in Edinburgh today.
Her Majesty, 96, joined the Armed Forces at the Palace of Holyroodhouse as they marked her Platinum Jubilee in Scotland.
The appearance came as Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is planning to announce her plans for a second referendum. This afternoon, she will outline how she intends to forge ahead with a second vote for Scottish independence either with or without Boris Johnson‘s agreement.
But despite the potential constitutional crisis brewing, the Queen looked sprightly while she was pictured at the celebrations.
And while she carried her now customary walking stick, a video of the monarch’s arrival showed her getting off the train alone, suggesting her mobility may be good at the moment.
Her Majesty appeared happy to be in Scotland today (pictured) as she attended an armed forces parade in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse
Her Majesty, 96, was photographed carrying a walking stick during today’s appearance, but despite that, was still seen beaming
Today’s Act of Loyalty Parade (pictured) is just part of a whole week of royal events set to take place in Scotland this week
This follows some uncertainty over whether her health issues would prevent her from travelling to Scotland, with the trip only being confirmed yesterday evening.
She arrived in Scotland last night, with members of her family, who will be taking part in this week’s series of royal events.
As a result of her mobility problems, the Queen has cut down on her public appearances, and was last seen during her Platinum Jubilee weekend earlier this month.
However, today she appeared to be enjoying the appearance, for which she wore a lavender coat with ox blood-coloured buttons, and a matching hat.
Her Majesty donned a lavender coat with large ox blood buttons, and a matching hat, with the same button detailing for today’s Scottish appearance
Her Majesty’s Scotland trip, which was not confirmed until yesterday, comes amid Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s plans for a second independence referendum
The 96-year-old, pictured at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, will be in Scotland for a week of royal events marking her Platinum Jubilee
Today’s ceremony, watched by the Queen (pictured) is part of the monarch’s traditional trip to Scotland for Holyrood Week
Will there be another referendum on Scottish independence?
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is expected to reveal plans to hold another independence referendum in October – which she plans to do with or without permission from Westminster.
Any new vote would follow 2014’s referendum, which was described as a ‘once in a generation’ event by both sides.
However, after Scots voted in favour of staying part of the union by 55-54, Nicola Sturgeon pursued another ballot, leading to criticism that she has an ‘obsession’ with independence, and should be concentrating on the cost-of-living crisis.
But the politician is expected to argue today that her party’s victory in Holyrood elections gives her a mandate to re-run the ballot.
And, as is her custom, she wore an appropriate brooch for the occasion, donning a diamond and emerald thistle-shaped piece, set with an amethyst. She has been spotted wearing the jewellery at Holyroodhouse events in the past.
Among today’s celebrations were a parade and presentation of the key for Edinburgh Castle in the gardens of the palace.
The army, navy and the air force were represented at the service, with a royal salute taking place as the Queen arrived in the gardens.
Lord Lyon, King of Arms, then presented three senior representatives from the services to the Queen.
They were joined by three cadets, representing each service, who then paraded the key to Edinburgh Castle across the gardens before presenting it to Major General Alastair Bruce of Crionaich, Governor of Edinburgh Castle.
The key to the castle was then presented to the Queen by Major General Alastair Bruce of Crionaich, governor of Edinburgh Castle, who was assisted by three service cadets at the palace’s Equerry’s Door.
The Major General addressed the Queen, saying: ‘We, the serving members of Your Majesty’s Armed Forces, bound by our oath to You, your Heirs and Successors, offer for Your gracious acceptance the Key to Your Majesty’s Royal Castle of Edinburgh.’
To which she responded: ‘I return this key to the safekeeping of My Governor of Edinburgh Castle, in gratitude for the symbolic Act of Loyalty of Our Armed Forces, confident of your faithful allegiance to your oath.’
Three cheers for the Queen were then given by members of the armed forces before a pipe tune composed for the Platinum Jubilee called Dieu Ragnari was played as she waved goodbye and returned to the palace.
The Queen has always reportedly been very fond of Scotland, and pictures today appear to show the 96-year-old in good spirits
Smiling: the monarch was snapped smiling widely as she shook hands with members of the armed forces
For the appearance, her Majesty carried her now-customary walking stick, and one of her classic black handbags, looped over her arm
During today’s event, the Queen presented her Majesty’s Medal for Music for the year 2021 to John Wallace CBE (pictured)
The act of loyalty and presentation of the key to Edinburgh Castle marked the 200th anniversary of King George IV’s visit to Scotland in 1822.
Later on Tuesday, the Princess Royal will then present honours in an investiture ceremony at the palace.
Among those to be recognised will be James McGoldrick, the assistant general secretary of the United Nations, and Ross McEwan, the chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Despite her sprightly appearance today, it is reported that the Queen will not take part in Holyroodhouse’s annual garden party, which takes place tomorrow.
During the Act of Loyalty Parade in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse today, Governor of Edinburgh Castle Alastair Bruce (pictured, left) led cadets
Alastair Bruce, Governor of Edinburgh Castle, (pictured, centre) played a role in today’s parade by the armed forces, which sees the military pledging allegiance to the monarchy
The party will recognise those who have had a positive impact on communities all around Scotland, and in place of the Queen will be the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal, Prince Edward and Sophie.
Prince Edward will also host another reception: one for gold Duke of Edinburgh award winners.
According to Buckingham Palace, Holyrood Week is a ‘chance for The Queen and Members of The Royal Family to visit various regions in Scotland, meet Scots from all walks of life and host thousands at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in recognition of their good work’.
It began with the Ceremony of the Keys at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh yesterday.
Video footage of the Queen arriving in Scotland last night (pictured) shows the Queen walking down the train stairs by herself, and not needing assistance
During the ceremony, on the day of the Queen’s arrival, she was symbolically offered the keys to the City of Edinburgh by the Lord Provost.
The tradition dictates that the monarch returns them, entrusting their safekeeping to the city’s elected officials.
A video of the Queen upon her arrival in Scotland yesterday shows her waving to fans and navigating the train steps easily, as she disembarks without assistace, despite mobility issues that have led to her scaling back public appearances.
The video shows a royal assistant standing ready to help the royal down the steps on to the platform, but the monarch descended the steps without any help.
Will Sturgeon call a wildcat referendum? SNP chief lays out separatist plans TODAY despite warnings she has NO legal grounds for a ballot without PM’s permission
Nicola Sturgeon today dramatically ramps up her rhetoric on Scottish independence with threats to hold a wildcat referendum.
In a statement to Holyrood, the SNP leader is expected to lay out her plans to stage another ballot in October next year, with or without permission from Westminster.
But Ms Sturgeon has been warned unless Boris Johnson grants so-called ‘Section 30’ powers – something he has flatly refused to do – any vote would be illegal.
In a statement to Holyrood today, Nicola Sturgeon is expected to lay out her plans to stage another independence referendum in October next year, with or without permission from Westminster
Critics have accused the First Minister of pursuing her ‘obsession’ with breaking up the UK rather than tackling the cost-of-living crisis.
The last referendum in 2014 was branded ‘once in a generation’ by both sides – and resulted in a 55-54 margin for keeping the union.
Polls have been showing that there is little appetite for another contest, with a steady – if slim – majority against independence.
But Ms Sturgeon will again argue today that the SNP’s victory in Holyrood elections gives her a mandate to re-run the ballot.
Speaking in Germany on the final day of the G7 summit, Mr Johnson desperately tried to avoid putting up a target for Ms Sturgeon to rail against.
He said: ‘Of course we’ll see what she has to say and look forward to that.
‘I think the important point to make is that we think the number one priority for the country is the economic pressures, the spikes in the cost of energy.
‘Our plan for a stronger economy certainly means that we think that we’re stronger working together but we have good relations with the Scottish Government.
‘We’ll see what she has to say.’
Ahead of her statement today, Ms Sturgeon said the ‘democratic will must be respected’.
She went on: ‘Bluntly, the UK Government is in no position to lecture any other country about the need to respect democratic norms if it is intent on trying to thwart democracy at home.
‘And because we live in a democracy where election results still matter, continued efforts to thwart the will of the people must – and will – fail.
The YouGov research for The Times last month – which ignored ‘don’t knows’ – suggested that backing for the union has increased since March, when 53 per cent wanted to stay together
‘The UK is either a partnership of consent or it is not a partnership worthy of the name. Westminster rule over Scotland cannot be based on anything other than a consented, voluntary partnership.’
However, ministers have insisted that ‘once in a generation’ means there should be no referendum for 25 years.
Earlier this month Ms Sturgeon published the first of a series of position papers designed to woo the Scottish public.
But she was forced to concede that ‘regulatory and customs’ problems would arise at the border with England if Scotland joined the EU single market as she hopes.
The admission raises the prospect of Northern Ireland-style wrangling with Brussels over checks on goods.
But Ms Sturgeon insisted the obstacles could be overcome, and access to the EU market mattered more to Scotland.
Speaking in Germany on the final day of the G7 summit, Boris Johnson (pictured with Joe Biden) desperately tried to avoid putting up a target for Ms Sturgeon to rail against
The White Paper, titled Wealthier, Happier, Fairer: Why Not Scotland? compares Scotland and the UK with other European nations and set out why the SNP/Greens think the country would be better off if it were independent.
But it did not address key issues such as what currency Scotland would use, its financial state given the vast deficit, pensions, benefits, defence policy and plans to rejoin the EU. Ms Sturgeon has hinted that future documents will cover those topics.
Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Donald Cameron said: ‘The First Minister’s obsessive push for another divisive independence referendum is the height of self indulgence and irresponsibility.
‘In the last week before summer recess, people want to see the SNP Government focus on the issues that really matter to them, rather than wasting time and energy on a pretend poll.
‘Right now, ministers should be prioritising the global cost-of- living crisis, fixing our NHS and rebuilding our economy from the pandemic. It is disgraceful Nicola Sturgeon would put all that on the backburner to push for another unwanted – possibly even illegal – referendum.’
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar accused the First Minister to ‘trying to drag Scotland back to the politics of the past instead of dealing with the challenges of the present’.
He said Ms Sturgeon was forging ahead with an unwanted referendum and ignoring people’s desperate cries for help with the cost-of-living crisis’.
Mr Sarwar said: ‘Right now people across Scotland are struggling to put food on the table as bills spiral; one in eight Scots is stuck on a waiting list as our NHS buckles under pressure, and public transport is in chaos.
‘Instead of dealing with these issues, we have two governments feeding off one another and trying to tear communities apart for political gain.’
Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton described the attempt to break up the UK as ‘out of touch, obsessive and desperate’.
He added: ‘Nicola Sturgeon is neglecting everyone who is worried about paying the bills or the sharp spike in Covid infections.
‘It’s a kick in the teeth for health staff, the hundreds of thousands of people on NHS waiting lists and anyone who believed the First Minister when she said education was the top priority.
‘Breaking up the UK is not the solution to these problems. Her obsession with breaking up the UK is a big part of the problem.’