Scotland and the Monarchy in the Twentieth Century

Richard J. Finlay

in Anglo-Scottish Relations, from 1900 to Devolution and Beyond

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780197263310
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734144 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Scotland and the Monarchy in the Twentieth Century

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This chapter demonstrates that Queen Victoria had a talent for interpreting and manipulating history, adopting national identities and evoking a significant response. It also discusses the English reaction when the ‘Stone of Destiny’ was (briefly) taken from Westminster Abbey in 1950 by nationalist students from Glasgow University. It specifically explores Scottish perceptions of the monarchy as part of a wider British identity in Scotland. It begins by briefly outlining the ways in which Victoria re-established the notion of monarchy in Scottish society. The contrast between the popular perception of Victoria and her heir, Edward, is examined to illustrate how notions of Scottishness were significant in identifying the attitudes towards the monarchy. It then addresses the period surrounding the coronation of Queen Elizabeth as it took place in 1953, the 350th anniversary of the Union of the Crowns. It further evaluates some of the reasons why the effect of monarchy as a unifying factor in British identity has decreased in Scotland over the last twenty years. There has been a steady decline in the number of Scots who served in the armed forces in the period after 1945.

Keywords: Scotland; monarchy; Queen Victoria; Stone of Destiny; British identity; Scottish society; Edward; Queen Elizabeth; Union of the Crowns

Chapter.  8604 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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