Queen Elizabeth II death: The day Holyrood stood still to remember the Queen

It is a rare event for all of Scotland’s political parties to put aside squabbles and constitutional differences to unite behind one single message.

But, overall, that is what they managed when the King came to the Scottish Parliament on Monday.

Nicola Sturgeon’s story of an errant corgi almost electrocuting itself brought a smile to the face of the new King, with her speech touching on the Queen’s humanity, her ‘normal’ personality and her service.

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Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross touched on the importance of Scotland to the Queen, while Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour’s leader, referenced the leadership of the late monarch during the pandemic.

Alex Cole-Hamilton, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, leaned heavily in a short speech on the service of the Queen through times of great hardship such as the war, and her dedication to service.

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Patrick Harvie, the co-leader of the Scottish Greens, focused his speech on the change witnessed by the Queen during her reign, and wished for more in a typical push for progressivism.

It was the closest the country has come to unorthodoxy since Thursday.

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King Charles III and the Queen Consort during a visit to the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh.

King Charles III’s appearance at the Scottish Parliament, to a young reporter who cannot remember the opening of the Scottish Parliament, bordered on anachronistic.

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Holyrood is a modern building inhabited by contemporary politicians and politics.

Royalty and pageantry, unlike in the Gothic majesty of the Palace of Westminster, feel far removed from the debating chamber despite the proximity of Holyroodhouse.

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But the strength of good will, of genuine condolence from the politicians in the chamber, reflects what the crowds of people lining the Royal Mile for two days appears to tell us.

Scotland is a country that shared a deep, reciprocal connection with the Queen, summarised aptly by King Charles who told MSPs his late mother had found a “haven and a home” in its hills.

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Sunday’s journey through the hills of Aberdeenshire and across the bridges of the Forth was a fitting beginning to the final farewell.

And it felt right that Edinburgh, which otherwise would have seen none of pomp and ceremony, and by extension Scotland, was given the opportunity to say one last goodbye.

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All episodes of the brand new limited series podcast, How to be an independent country: Scotland’s Choices, are out now.

It is available wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.



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