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Queen Elizabeth II meets Scotland’s leaders after the referendum announcement

#Queen #Elizabeth #meets #Scotlands #leaders #referendum #announcement

Queen Elizabeth II met Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday, a day after the politician put her government on a collision course with London by announcing plans for another independence referendum.

The 96-year-old monarch met Sturgeon at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, but no details of their conversation have been released.

She is in Scotland for the annual Holyrood Week, when she and other members of the Royal Family traditionally perform a series of engagements in the country.

The Queen has scaled back her public engagements massively since she struggled with mobility problems in October due to a bout of illness and was not expected to make the long journey north from Windsor Castle.

But she has recently shown herself to be in better health and, according to video footage, was not using a cane when she met Sturgeon.

The clip also showed Sturgeon presenting the monarch with a £150 ($181) bottle of premium Johnnie Walker Blue Label whiskey.

The Scottish leader wants to secede from Britain and on Tuesday announced plans for a referendum on October 19, 2023.

Speaking to Edinburgh Parliament, Sturgeon acknowledged that her devolved government may not have the power to call the vote without London’s approval and is asking the UK Supreme Court for advice.

Eight years ago Scotland voted to remain in the UK and recent polls suggest Scots remain divided on the issue of independence.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s UK government says the 2014 referendum settled matters for a generation.

En route from Germany to a NATO summit in Spain, Johnson vowed to study Sturgeon’s plan and “act properly.”

Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party (SNP) wants to keep the monarchy after independence.

As head of state, the Queen is politically neutral, but observers said her mere presence in Scotland was a subtle reminder of tradition and Scotland’s three-century-old association with England.

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