PROFESSOR Sir Tom Devine has argued the monarchy has “zero relevance” to debates around the Union.

Despite the BBC making several references to Scottish independence and the future of the UK during its coverage of the late Queen Elizabeth’s death, the pro-independence historian has suggested the “deteriorating attitude” of the UK Government towards Scotland will have a bigger bearing on whether it leaves the Union than the monarchy ever will.

BBC journalist Nicholas Witchell said the Union of England and Scotland was “very close” to the Queen’s heart during coverage following her passing.

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

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 said this is a “challenge” for both the Union and the monarchy itself.

But on BBC Scotland’s Debate Night, Devine suggested the Royal Family was not relevant with regards to debates on the future of the UK.

He said: “What is the relevance of any of the monarchy to the political discussion on the Union? In my view, it’s zero relevance.

“First of all, the SNP have said the monarchy will continue under an independent Scotland, and secondly, and much more fundamentally than that, remember 2014.

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“The only time the monarchy was mentioned as a factor for bolstering the Union or not bolstering it was the infamous interview outside Crathie Kirk when the Queen was supposed to have given some indication that people should think hard about their choice.

“What will determine the future of this country, whether it remains in the UK or as a separate independent country, will be a whole series of major political, economic and social influences, not least the deteriorating attitude of the government at Westminster towards Scotland and its lack of respect for Scotland over the last four or five years, in contract to way her late Majesty always regarded Scotland as a historic nation, which was one of the partnership nations that signed the union of 1707.”

Ahead of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, the Queen told a well-wisher outside Crathie Kirk, close to her Balmoral estate: “Well, I hope people will think very carefully about the future.”

The comments followed a poll putting Yes in the lead for the first time, and Better Together campaigners considered the Queen’s comment to be helpful to their cause.