TWO-thirds of Scots want the monarchy scrapped or radically modernised, according to a Scotland on Sunday poll which shows support for the institution has collapsed in the wake of the Paul Burrell trial fiasco.
Asked how the monarchy should react to the events of the Golden Jubilee year, 19% of Scots said it should be abolished while 43% wanted it significantly updated.
Support for a republic outstrips backing for the monarchy, the poll also shows. Questioned on whether Scotland should have a king or queen or a president, 37% backed a president and 30% a monarch.
The results are particularly troubling for the Royal Family because they suggest support has haemorrhaged in Scotland in the past six months.
A poll conducted by this newspaper in June 2002 - halfway through the Jubilee year - found that 52% of Scots wanted the Queen as head of state.
The new poll of 1,000 Scots - which was carried out by Scottish Opinion between December 16 and 21 - also reveals the emergence of republican hotspots in Scotland.
In the Central Scotland area - which includes Stirling, Falkirk, and Clackmannanshire - only 19% want the Queen as head of state. In Lothian and the Borders, backing for the monarchy stands at 24%.
It is also possible a demographic timebomb is ticking under the monarchy in Scotland. Fewer than a quarter of 35-44 year olds back the throne, and almost half of 18 to 24-year-olds want an elected president.
Men also emerge as more likely to be anti-royal than women north of the Border. Just 27% of men back the monarchy, with 40% being in favour of an elected head of state. Women are more evenly split, with 34% plumping for each option with the other 32% being undecided.
John Curtice, professor of politics at Strathclyde University, said the poll proved the Royal Family needed to change quickly.
He said: "This represents a dramatic change of mood since last summer at the height of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations. It appears the unfavourable publicity that surrounded the collapse of the trial of Paul Burrell has done serious damage to the Royal Family’s image. The monarchy probably needs to change in ways that the current Queen has not even contemplated."
Labour MP Paul Flynn, a veteran campaigner for root-and-branch reform, said the poll findings were "very encouraging".
He claimed the Burrell trial was a landmark event, as it showed the Queen was "manipulative", when she should be above the law.
He added: "They have relied on very skilled spin doctors who use alchemy to produce good news out of bad, but ultimately this fails and I think we are seeing the signs now.
"It is extraordinary that there should be such support for a presidential system when there is no active lobby for that system and no one promoting themselves as president. There is a vast industry promoting the Royal Family."
However, former Tory minister Peter Bottomley insisted there remained a majority in favour of retaining the Royals ahead of a presidential system.
But he admitted the monarchy would have to undergo at least two landmark changes in the light of its turbulent year.
"The change I suspect would make sense would be the monarch becoming a ‘defender of faith’ rather than just a defender of the Anglican faith," Bottomley said. "And now that we have got a fairly clear line of succession, it is time to say that from here onwards the principle of accession to the throne should be based on the oldest child, whether they are male or female."
The SNP last night claimed the poll supported their policy of radically slimming down the monarchy.
A spokesman said: "This poll indicates that the farcical stories that accompanied the butler trials have taken their toll on the monarchy’s standing in Scotland.
"The SNP support retaining a slimmed down constitutional monarchy in an independent Scotland subject to the consent of the people in a referendum. The royals can no longer take their position for granted and will have to work hard to win back the people’s trust."
Buckingham Palace last night declined to comment.
Constitutional expert Lord St John of Fawsley, a close friend of the Royal Family, dismissed the poll’s findings. He said: "Polls come and polls go. They are the beginning of the debate, not the conclusion. These figures are certainly not borne out by my experience during my frequent visits to Scotland where I find a great affection for the Queen and the Royal Family. The monarchy of course, is more Scottish than anything else, and are descended from the Stuarts - who were Scots."
He claimed that the poll showed a lack of real enthusiasm for an elected president.
"The more people think about the alternatives, the more they realise the difficulties and the more they appreciate the values and strengths of the current system."