ROYAL correspondent Nicholas Witchell has been accused of providing the BBC with a “crass monologue” on Scottish independence during its coverage of the Queen’s thanksgiving service.

Witchell spent some time last Thursday discussing what the Union meant to the Queen as she was under medical supervision at Balmoral.

On Monday, as King Charles and the Queen Consort travelled to Edinburgh for the service at St Giles’ Cathedral, the reporter took the opportunity to explain the royal family’s views on the Union for around four minutes.

Unchallenged by the BBC News host, Witchell argued that the Queen was privately “greatly distressed” about the possibility of an independent Scotland and promoted the “advantages” of being united.

It comes as both Holyrood and Westminster have had their business shut down, and political parties suspend campaigning, as a mark of respect to the late Queen Elizabeth.

Witchell told viewers that while the SNP’s official policy would be to maintain the monarchy after Scotland becomes independent, there are people within the party and wider movement who would prefer a republic. He says this is a “challenge” for both the Union and the monarchy itself.

“It is something that the Queen privately did feel strongly about,” the journalist said. “She was greatly distressed at the thought of the Union dividing, at the thought of Scotland leaving the Union.”

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After discussing the Queen’s 2014 independence intervention, Witchell said: “It is undoubtedly the case that the whole question of the monarchy in Scotland is something about which a lot of thought is given at Buckingham Palace.

“The Duke of Rothesay, as he’s known in Scotland or has been known until now … but yeah the family and William too, I think, feels very strongly about the importance of the Union.

“All the advantages that the nation as a whole has from being united.”

Chris McEleny, the general secretary of Alex Salmond’s Alba party, was critical of Witchell and the BBC’s approach to the political matter.

The National:

“Nicholas Witchell has made a career out of making things up or coming to assumptions in regards to the thoughts of others,” said the former councillor. “His latest intervention being a long monologue on the late Queen’s thoughts on the Union that ‘she kept to herself’ but somehow Nicholas Witchell thinks he knows what they were.

“It is pretty crass to use the Queen to make a political point, especially on the BBC.

“The Union of Crowns predates the Union of Scotland and England. Queen Elizabeth knew this, sadly the BBC’s chief royal fabricator does not. He should take the earliest opportunity to apologise.”

The BBC have been contacted for comment.

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During his contribution to the coverage, Witchell referred to William feeling “strongly” about the Union.

While William has also not spoken publicly on the issue of independence, he and wife Kate held a private meeting with Gordon Brown last year. The former prime minister had, at the time, just launched a renewed anti-independence think tank Our Scottish Future.

Kensington Palace said Prince William had been listening to community views on the independence issue.

It was also briefed in 2021 that Queen Elizabeth would be leading a royal “charm offensive” to save the Union after the SNP’s victory at the Holyrood election.

Officials at Number 10 had held discussions about how to use "cultural bonds" to help to tie Scotland more closely to London, with the royals thought to be one of their most powerful tools to assist with that plan.

Before the 2014 independence referendum the Queen said Scots should "think carefully about the future".

Her comment was seen to influence the final 55%-45% result against independence.