We are organising a party to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, it said.
I looked at my invitation with curiosity. It was illustrated with pictures of people wearing red, white and blue. Some had Union flags across their shoulders. How very un-Scottish, I thought. It seemed as foreign as a Diwali party or a Chinese New Year celebration.
If I was in London I would join the crowds on the banks of the Thames as 1000 craft accompany the royal barge along the river. What a spectacle it promises to be. Bell-ringers on one barge will be echoed by the chimes of churches along the way. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will be on another barge playing Handel's Water Music – and the spirit of Henry VIII will surely be abroad.
But standing in an Edinburgh garden eating hog roast surrounded by Union flags – with not a Saltire in sight – would seem oddly colonial or even, dare I say it, English. It's not that I see Scotland as a republican stronghold. Elizabeth is, after all, Queen of Scots. There's definitely respect and affection for her here but she doesn't light the touch-paper of patriotism. I think that is why England will be putting up the bunting for the Jubilee and Scotland, by and large, won't.
Eight out of 10 people in England say the Queen makes them proud to be English. According to YouGov, only four out of 10 Scots say she lends pride to their Scottishness.
That absence of an instinctive groundswell of warmth might help explain why at least half of our local authorities have no official plans to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. People here might admire the Queen, even like her, but few feel ownership of her.
Arguably, in these austere times, communities would benefit from the distraction of street parties. It's fun to set up tables out of doors and have a picnic. But for the Queen's Jubilee? It's not the Scottish way.
The royals are accepted here. We have affection for a number of them. They come and go without fuss. It's as if they can slip off their crowns and coronets when they cross the Border. They hole up at Balmoral like other country-loving landowners. They're part of a parallel universe that was the apex of Scottish society in the 1950s.
But Scotland has developed a new identity since then and with every step along that path the old landed class has become more irrelevant. Deference gave way to tolerance in the 20th century. In the 21st century, the old aristocracy with the royal family at its head seems ever more anachronistic. Community ownership of land is firmly on the agenda.
To a large extent the royal family stands apart from all that. It benefits from the consistent diligence of the Princess Royal, whose charitable causes bring her here frequently. Her commitment is well known and respected. She can sing Flower of Scotland at Murrayfield or sail off the west coast without creating a stir. People admire her for working hard and bringing up her children without titles.
The Prince of Wales contributes too. The Prince's Trust has helped many Scottish youth and in his idiosyncratic way it's obvious he loves the countryside and its people – albeit with an 18th-century sensibility.
Yet even these two don't touch the quick of the Scottish people. They don't inspire warmth. They don't inspire.
They perhaps are not required to – though in London, on the Diamond Jubilee weekend, the air will be charged because the people will feel the monarchy is theirs. It belongs to them and they to it.
Here, as in Wales and Northern Ireland, the relationship is cooler. It's less a romance, more a marriage of convenience.
Will William and Kate bring the missing magic? I fear not. If anything I think the gulf will widen. The young couple did spend their student years in Scotland but (mostly) not with the Scots. St Andrews University could pass for a little slice of England in Fife – or a coterie of its students could. Like Edinburgh, it attracts students from English public schools in sufficiently large numbers to constitute their own micro climate.
Like his brother, Prince William makes no secret of his support for English sporting teams. And the former Miss Middleton is a quintessentially home counties girl. William and Kate appear to have passed through Scotland visibly untouched by its burgeoning culture. It doesn't matter to Scotland. It might, in time, matter to them.
To appreciate the change that has taken place here since the day the Queen opened the new Parliament in 1999 you just have to stand in cities and town centres and cast your eye around. Count the Saltires.
It's not necessarily a signpost on the road to independence. With increasing cultural confidence many people will feel no need for separation. Even if it comes, Alex Salmond will keep the monarch as head of state. It's a typically astute move. The Queen signals continuity. People know her and trust what she stands for. They will feel safer for having her ongoing presence. Right there you can see the respect and the trust she inspires.
It's still short of the patriotic feeling that brings people out to dance in the streets but it has its own value. It will, I think, outlive the Queen and will probably continue when Prince Charles is King. Beyond that I wonder. If Scotland isn't set back decades by the economic downturn; if it continues to look forward, to be innovative and ever more certain of itself, won't an essentially English monarchy become irrelevant as well as appear more English still? I think it will.
Meantime, as the Diamond Jubilee approaches, Scotland will continue to respect but not defer to the royal family. It will afford them privacy, a place in which to enjoy the landscape and to pursue their private lives. It will continue to be grateful and appreciative of the charitable work the royal family carries out. It will retain them as heads of state. Some will light beacons to celebrate 60 years of this good Queen. Some will wrap themselves in red, white and blue.
Most will watch the celebrations on the television, enjoy the spectacle and think no more about it: content to have "the" Queen, not "our" Queen. And, as an Irishwoman who has lived in Scotland for more than 30 years, I wish the Queen well but I doubt I'll make that party at the top of my street.
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