A PETITION demanding the Scottish Government abolish royal exceptions and adaptations to legislation has become the most popular on Holyrood's website.

The petition launched by Our Republic has amassed over 6000 signatures in just over a week – nearly twice as many as any other submitted in the past year.

It calls for all details of instances where the monarchy has lobbied for changes in Scottish law to be made public, for them to be reversed, and for any future communications between the monarchy and government to be “fully transparent” to prevent any such alterations to Scottish laws being implemented in the future. 

Our Republic convenor Tristan Gray said it is important for people to realise the monarchy are not simply “neutral figureheads”.

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He said: "We wanted to draw attention to the secretive ways in which the royal family have been interfering with our laws to their own benefit.

“While many people think of the royals as simply neutral figureheads and tourist attractions, the reality is that, behind the scenes, they are anything but.

"News stories this week, from the clear strategy of anonymous briefing to shape media reporting to revelations Charles yet again interfered with environmental regulations in 2019, show how much of an immediate concern these ongoing royal manipulations should be.

“The first step towards changing this is to lift the shroud of secrecy."

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A constitutional mechanism called Crown Consent sees the monarch given an opportunity to look over prospective laws that could affect his or her property and public powers. It is not the same as Royal Assent, which is given to bills to make them acts of Parliament.

Gray added: “We're calling on the Scottish Government to ensure all future communication between the Crown and the Government are public and transparent, publish all past correspondence, abolish past exemptions implemented on the monarchy's behalf, and work to prevent such alterations to our laws in the future."

The popularity of the petition has come amid a rocky time for the royals after the publication of Prince Harry's autobiography Spare, which made claims about how the family has sought to shape media reporting and "plant" stories.

The National: Prince Harry's autobiography Spare included revelations about how the family can shape media reporting Prince Harry's autobiography Spare included revelations about how the family can shape media reporting (Image: Archant)

Reports said that the late Queen was given advance sight of Holyrood bills – allowing her to secretly lobby for changes – on at least 67 occasions. These included bills dealing with property taxation, protections from tenants, and planning laws.

It emerged at the weekend the UK Government asked King Charles for permission to pass its post-Brexit Environment Act because laws requiring landowners to enhance conservation could affect his business interests.

In letters sent in October 2019, then environment minister Rebecca Pow informed Charles: “This bill contains measures on conservation covenants which affect the interests of the crown, the Duchy of Lancaster and the Duchy of Cornwall.

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“Part 7 (conservation covenants) of the bill applies to crown land as it applies to any other land.”

Letters then show that the prince’s private secretary, Clive Alderton, gave his consent for the law.

Gray said that he feels republicanism is growing in Scotland and now is the right time to talk about the future of the monarchy.

He said: "We have members from parties across the political spectrum and republicanism is growing in Scotland. A recent poll showed that only 45% of Scots still support the monarchy.

“We think the time is right to have a proper conversation about the future of the royal family in Scotland, and the vital importance of the concept that all of us should be equal under the law."

The petition can be signed here and will continue to collect signatures until February 2. It will then be considered by the Citizen Participation and Public Petitions Committee.