REPUBLICANS have hit out at the announcement that King Charles has bestowed Scotland’s highest honour upon his wife Camilla, with the move being branded “cronyism with a crown on top”.

Camilla was brought into the “Order of the Thistle” on Friday, an honour dating back to at least 1687 that “recognises Scottish men and women who have held public office or who have contributed in a particular way to national life”.

William, the Prince of Wales and Duke of Rothesay, is also in the order, as is Princess Anne. Appointments are made entirely at the whim of the King.

Tristan Gray, convener of anti-monarchy campaign group Our Republic, said moves like this from the royals render being honoured in the UK completely meaningless.

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He told The National: “It’s just so blatant isn’t it? What’s she done? It’s cronyism with a crown on top of it.

“The very concept of being honoured in the United Kingdom just becomes completely meaningless when we all know at this point that it’s just nepotism.

"It’s not about what you’ve done or how you’ve contributed to the community. It’s just who you know.

“Even Disney has ditched the idea that you get made special just because the right person fell in love with you.

The National: Our Republic founders including Tristan Gray (centre)Our Republic founders including Tristan Gray (centre)

“We’re at the end of a week of crisis in Westminster because Boris Johnson has been found to be so dishonest. Yet he still just gets to honour a bunch of his pals who will have power over our laws for their entire lives.

"Then at the end of that week, Charles turns around and goes 'I can do one better. Hold my beer.'”

Gray added he found Camilla being honoured “insulting” to the likes of athletes and charity workers who have worked hard to earn their honour.

There are various other peers and members of the aristocracy in the order, such as Richard Scott, the “Duke of Buccleuch”, and David Ogilvy, the “Earl of Airlie”.

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Other names in the order include SNP politician and former Holyrood presiding officer George Reid and Elish Angiolini, the former lord advocate of Scotland.

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard, who believes Scotland should have an elected head of state, said honouring the Queen in this way would do nothing for the reputation of the monarchy north of the Border.

Sheppard said: “It’s just more arrogant, feudal nonsense that is going to be another hammerblow to the status and reputation of the monarchy in Scotland.

“I think the palace really ought to take a long hard look at what people in Scotland think of the monarchy and in particular younger Scots because clearly there’s been a massive change in attitude.

The National:

“This sort of thing is not going to endear them to young Scots.”

Scottish Greens MSP Maggie Chapman (pictured above) said: “The absurdity of the British monarchy increases by the day.

"The Royal Family handing each other elaborate Scottish titles so they can tell each other how important they are won’t change the polls, which show more Scots than ever questioning why we need a monarchy at all.

"Scotland deserves a modern, democratic and independent republic where power lies with the people. Our head of state isn’t something that should be inherited.

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"It isn’t a grandfather clock or some nice cutlery. And all the titles or extravagant, gold-laden shows of wealth they can muster won’t change that basic democratic principle.”

Chris McEleny, the general secretary of the Alba Party, said he was confused as to what Camilla had done to deserve the accolade, adding that it pressed home the case for a Scottish republic.

He said: “It’s time for the people of Scotland to grasp the thistle and reclaim our nation’s independence so that whilst our people are being hit with the double whammy of fuel and food poverty we don’t have to put up with this sort of nonsense from the House of Windsor. 

“Granting Camilla the title of Queen was already disrespectful to the wishes of the late Queen Elizabeth – who was respected by many in Scotland, including republicans – but I’m not sure what exactly it is that Camilla has done to merit the highest order of chivalry that can be bestowed in Scotland. 

“Charles may wish to revise history to sustain his failing reign but I suspect most Scots will view the King and Queen Consort as completely out of touch with their lives and that there are much more deserving people in Scotland worthy of recognition.”

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “The King has been graciously pleased to appoint the Queen to the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle.

“The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle represents the highest honour in Scotland. Revived by King James VII, the Order has a complement of 16 Knights (KT).”