Her Majesty met with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon a day after the Scottish leader announced plans for a second independence referendum.
The 96-year-old is spending the week in Scotland for Holyrood Week and received the First Minister as well as a Scottish Parliament official. Sturgeon announced plans for a second independence referendum in October 2023. Looking for a chance to break away from the United Kingdom, Sturgeon has vowed to take legal action if the British government blocks the ballot. Sturgeon has said The Queen would remain Head of State if Scotland does become independent.
During the last vote in 2014, Scotland, which has a population of about 5.5 million, rejected the referendum 55% to 45%. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is opposing the new referendum and said the question was settled back in 2014.
While politics might be ramping up, it was all smiles for Her Majesty and Sturgeon during their meeting. Sturgeon presented The Queen with a number of gifts, including a limited edition bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label whiskey, as well as a tartan throw. Video shows the two shaking hands and chatting over the bottle of whiskey to which Her Majesty said: “What a nice thing to have.”
Her Majesty also received Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone. There are photos and videos showing The Queen with the two officials, but the meetings were held in private, and no details of the conversations have been revealed.
While The Queen attended the meetings, she was not seen at the final garden party of the year on the grounds of the Palace of Holyrood House later that day.
The monarch has had several engagements during Holyrood Week despite ongoing mobility issues. She was seen attending the historic Ceremony of the Keys with her youngest son, the Earl of Wessex, and his wife, the Countess of Wessex.