PRINCE Charles made a plea for the Union on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government as he delivered Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech.

The Duke of Rothesay provided the address during the State Opening of Parliament after the Queen pulled out at the last minute, missing the ceremony for the first time in nearly 60 years.

The 96-year-old monarch was said to be following advice from her doctors after experiencing “episodic mobility problems”.

The Government writes the speech setting out plans for the upcoming parliamentary session despite it being read out by the Head of State – in Tuesday’s address, Boris Johnson used it to announce a blueprint to get the UK “back on track” after the pandemic, but failed to offer up any new legislation to ease the spiralling cost of living crisis.

Among the 38 Bills in the programme, there was absolutely nothing to alleviate consumers’ soaring household expenses right now.

Another key point during the address was when the speech was used to make a statement on the stability of the Union.

Following historic wins for the pro-independence SNP in Scotland and pro-reunification Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland at last week’s elections, the Government effectively responded to that success through Prince Charles.

“The continued success and integrity of the whole of the United Kingdom is of paramount importance to her majesty’s government,” he told the House of Lords, “including the internal economic bonds between all of its parts”.

He went on to say that the Government will continue to support the Good Friday Agreement too.

Last Friday, Sinn Fein became Northern Ireland's largest party and won the entitlement to nominate a first minister.

Meanwhile the SNP's seat tally increased by 22 to 453, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hailing the victory for her party as “astonishing”.

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Tommy Sheppard, SNP MP and the party's constitution spokesperson, told The National that the Unionist element of the speech was disappointing.

"Instead of defending archaic institutions from yesteryear the Government would do better to address the democratic desire of people in various parts of the UK to have a say on a new relationship between its component nations. 

"Disappointed not to hear any fresh thinking or a commitment to respect the views of people in Scotland."

Scottish Greens economic spokesperson Maggie Chapman (below) went on: "The speech talked about the 'continued success and integrity of the whole of the United Kingdom' but the reality is that few people are sharing-in that so-called success. The cost of living is skyrocketing and people are suffering."

The National:

And Alba MP, Kenny MacAskill criticised the "direct political reference" given to Charles by "that complete chancer, Johnson".

"A constitutional monarch should never be making political statements. Charles’s advisers should have flung the draft back in the Prime Minster’s face as 'foolish and divisive'," he told The National.

“This reference was probably to Northern Ireland but, of course, former Tory prime minister Cameron has already admitted to attempting to prejudice the monarch’s impartiality during the Scottish independence referendum.

“The monarchy cannot possibly survive when it allows itself to be used as a political cats-paw by the Tories. It re-enforces my view that once the reign of the much respected present Queen comes to an end then the monarchy itself will have past its sell by date.” 

The Queen's Speech comes after it emerged that royal family members will be sent to Scotland to celebrate the upcoming Jubilee.

Princess Anne will head north of the Border as part of efforts to “spread joy” and “shore up the Union”, according to the Scottish Daily Express.

The royal visits follow reports that the Queen wants to spend more time in Scotland to strengthen support for the Union.

She is said to have informed palace insiders she does not want to see Scotland leave the UK under her watch – with another independence referendum scheduled for 2023.

A royal source told the Sun on Sunday: “Protocol prevents her from expressing a political opinion but she wants the people of Scotland to know of her wish that they reject independence.”