<![CDATA[The Queen has issued a statement from Balmoral this afternoon in the wake of the No vote returned by the people of Scotland in Thursday’s referendum on independence.
The statement, sent out by Buckingham Palace at six o’clock, constitutes The Queen’s only official contribution to the referendum, having followed convention by not favouring either side, despite speculation she opposed the destruction of the union.
With the campaigns over and the question settled for at least another generation, plans are set to be introduced by Westminster to grant new powers to the devolved Scottish parliament.
Her Majesty will spend the remainder of the month and the start of October in Scotland as part of her traditional summer break, returning to London in a few weeks time to resume the usual pace of work from Buckingham Palace.
Tomorrow, the Duke of Cambridge will represent The Queen on a visit to Malta as part of the island’s 50th anniversary of independence, a trip the Duchess of Cambridge was set to make initially though was forced to pull out of due continuing to experience symptoms of Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
Kensington Palace announced Prince William would go in her place on Thursday.
The Queen’s statement in full:
After many months of discussion, debate, and careful thought, we now know the outcome of the Referendum, and it is a result that all of us throughout the United Kingdom will respect.
For many in Scotland and elsewhere today, there will be strong feelings and contrasting emotions – among family, friends and neighbours. That, of course, is the nature of the robust democratic tradition we enjoy in this country. But I have no doubt that these emotions will be tempered by an understanding of the feelings of others.
Now, as we move forward, we should remember that despite the range of views that have been expressed, we have in common an enduring love of Scotland, which is one of the things that helps to unite us all. Knowing the people of Scotland as I do, I have no doubt that Scots, like others throughout the United Kingdom, are able to express strongly-held opinions before coming together again in a spirit of mutual respect and support, to work constructively for the future of Scotland and indeed all parts of this country.
My family and I will do all we can to help and support you in this important task.