The annual ball that The Queen throws for staff at her Aberdeenshire estate has been put back by a day, it is reported. Usually, the Gillies Ball is held on a Thursday, and it seems the upcoming referendum could be the cause for postponing the event until Friday 19th September, the day after Scotland votes on independence.
It remains to be seen whether the event, described by one worker as ‘[just about] the most exclusive ball in the world’, will be a celebration or a more solemn occasion, depending on which way the Scottish vote goes.
Compared to many other parts of Scotland, the nearest villages to Balmoral (Braemar and Ballater) bear little evidence of the referendum campaign, though some have said Her Majesty may have seen a ‘NO’ banner in the fields leading up to her estate, or a ‘YES’ sign in a shop window in Ballater; apart from that there seems to be no signs of bias surrounding Balmoral.
The Queen, when speaking to a well-wisher at Crathie Kirk, said she “hopes people will think very carefully about the future” when they vote on Thursday, though Buckingham Palace issued a statement which said: “Any suggestion that The Queen would wish to influence the outcome of the current referendum campaign is categorically wrong. Her Majesty is simply of the view that this is a matter for the people of Scotland.” The Palace also stated that The Queen’s constitutional impartiality is “an established part of our democracy and one which The Queen has demonstrated throughout her reign.”
Prince Harry recently spoke out about the Independence Referendum shortly after the conclusion of the Invictus Games, saying that he hoped the international sporting event could be held in the UK next year – possibly in Glasgow. It does appear that many members of the Royal Family, are privately hoping that the result of Thursday’s referendum is a vote to stay a part of the UK.
Again, nobody knows as of yet whether the ball on Friday will see guests celebrating or commiserating. For me, I hope it is a celebration and that Scotland does remain a part of the United Kingdom for, as the slogan goes, we really are ‘better together’.