Monarchist line

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George Kerevan stated in his provocative article (Perspective, 2 August) that “Scotland traditionally always elected its monarchs”. This has to be challenged.

First, the Jacobite movement, which found its greatest support in Scotland, upheld the senior male Stuart claimant to the throne against the parliamentarily “elected” William and Mary and later the kings of Hanover.

Secondly, from 1005 to 1688 the succession was almost without exception by primogeniture (given legal status by James I in about 1430). This covers almost the entire period of independent Scotland in its present geographical area.

It includes Robert Bruce, who by 1306 had the best genetic as well as pragmatic claim.

Thirdly, it is true that before 1005 a system called tanistry was acknowledged in theory, whereby the tribal leaders, mormaers and thanes, would elect a tanist (an heir) during the king’s reign, but this almost invariably followed a strict hereditary pattern from brother to brother or cousin to cousin, a zigzag progression rather than a vertical one, but certainly not democratic in our sense.

Kenneth Macalpine’s Pictish predecessors (to at least the 4th century AD) occasionally 
followed a matrilineal succession, but a blood-related succession nonetheless.

What I find amazing is that Mr Kerevan and many other members of the SNP and the Yes campaign do not make political capital out of this.

Our royal traditions – a 1,700-year-old blood lineage, the Honours, the Stone etc – which would make an independent Scotland probably the oldest and most revered kingdom in the world today, are instead 
belittled and reviled (or denied) by certain elements of that campaign and party.

It is truly amazing.

James Robertson

Canongate

Edinburgh