Cambridges urged to look like 'residents' of Scotland in bid to boost union

Prince William - JANE BARLOW /AFP
Prince William - JANE BARLOW /AFP

Royal advisors want the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to look like they are "residents" in Scotland under plans to boost the Union.

Kate and William are reportedly keen to build on the success of their recent tour of Scotland, which saw them visit their old home of St Andrews, due to royal fears UK politicians are "losing" the country.

The couple are expected to follow up with more visits north of the border in the near future.

The Duke also held private meetings with Gordon Brown, who recently launched a new pro-UK campaign, and Nicola Sturgeon during his tour last month.

"Advisors want William and Kate to be in Balmoral a lot more and build on their St Andrews connection," a royal source told The Sunday Times. "They want them not to look like visitors but to look like residents."

The newspaper reported that a source close to the royal household had said that William was taking "a deliberately more muscular approach to the crown investing in the relationship with Scotland".

In a speech he made during his recent tour, which formed part of a video montage of their visit uploaded to social media channels, the Duke signed off by saying: "To the people of Scotland, who have afforded us such a warm welcome, see you soon."

The comment will be seen as a public commitment to spend far more time north of the border, where polls suggest the Duke and Duchess, who are known in Scotland as the Earl and Countess of Strathearn, are very popular, in contrast to Boris Johnson and other UK Government ministers.

SNP politicians rarely criticise the royals publicly, and the party’s official position is that the monarchy would be retained in an independent Scotland.

However, Alex Salmond last month warned the Duke to stay out of the debate over independence and claimed he had displayed "poor judgement" by meeting with Mr Brown, the former Prime Minister.

The Alba Party leader said it would be "extraordinarily foolish" for the monarchy to get dragged into the row over the constitution and said the royals should beware "unscrupulous Unionist desperation" to use them for political ends.

Ms Sturgeon has unveiled plans for another separation vote by the end of 2023, after the immediate Covid crisis has passed but while Scotland is still recovering from the pandemic.

Days before the 2014 referendum, the Queen said that she hoped the Scottish people "think very carefully about the future", a comment that was widely interpreted as a warning against independence.

David Cameron was later overheard claiming that the monarch had “purred down the line” when he told her Scots have voted against separation.