INDEPENDENCE campaigners will need to promise to keep the monarchy if they want to win a referendum next time, Professor Sir John Curtice has said. 

The Strathclyde University psephologist told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland that despite most Yes voters being republicans, the campaign would need to “appeal to the broadest possible constituency.”

He added: “It is clear the support for the monarchy amongst Scots in general is more popular than support for a republic.

“But that is not true amongst Yes supporters.

“Nicola Sturgeon’s job, given the polls say that probably less than 50 per cent are in favour of independence, is to grow that support and she won’t make life any easier by saying a consequence of independence is the monarchy would go.

“She needs to go for the broadest constituency as possible and not simply appeal to her base.

“Those who want independence and want to get rid of the monarchy will vote Yes anyway.

“Nicola Sturgeon needs to focus on those who are uncertain, unclear and not entirely happy with the state of the UK who probably still want Scotland to retain the monarchy.”

At the 2014 referendum, the Scottish Government’s White Paper said Scotland would be “a constitutional monarchy” after independence and continue the “Union of the Crowns that dates back to 1603, pre-dating the Union of the Parliaments by over one hundred years.”

The SNP’s partners in Government, the Scottish Greens, are stridently republican. 

Earlier this week, they walked out of a Holyrood debate on the Platinum Jubilee, and just yesterday, they described a tribute to the monarch by the Green Party in England and Wales as “nauseating”. 

Responding to Professor Curtice's comments, MSP Ross Greer said:
"A vote for independence is not a vote for a republic. Those are clearly separate issues, but independence is fundamentally about democracy and self-determination, which must mean the public then having the opportunity to choose between a monarchy or an elected head of state."

Recent polling suggests that fewer than half of Scots want to keep the Royal family. 

The survey, by the British Future thinktank found that only 45% in Scotland said they wanted to retain the monarchy, compared to 60% in the rest of the country.

Sir John told the BBC that the Royals would be hoping this weekend’s celebration helps “to cement” their waning popularity across the UK. 

He said: “Support for independence is much higher amongst those who are younger but the truth is actually even south of the border, although it's not as marked, again you discover that younger people are less keen on the monarchy than are older people.

"And actually it has been amongst all younger people in particular, that the modest decline in support for the monarchy, south of the border has been most noticeable.

“So there is an issue here for the monarchy with the younger generations but actually is evident across the UK as a whole.”

Earlier today, Nicola Sturgeon described the Queen as a "quite extraordinary individual."

She said: "There are different opinions across the UK on the institution of monarchy, that's right and proper. We should celebrate the fact we live in a democracy where those differences can be expressed.

"You don't have to be a great supporter of the monarchy - I'm not talking about me here - to have huge respect for the Queen and to think of her as a quite extraordinary individual to whom everybody across the UK and the Commonwealth owes a deep debt of gratitude."

Ms Sturgeon said she would "always cherish" the hours of one-on-one conversation she'd had with the Queen, saying: "That opportunity to talk with her, to benefit from her knowledge, her wisdom, and perhaps above all, the completely unique perspective she has on modern world history is something that I deeply value and will always really treasure."

In an interview in 2019, the former Prime Minister David Cameron admitted that he’d asked the Queen for some help during the Scottish independence referendum.

He told a BBC documentary he made contact with Buckingham Palace officials in 2014, suggesting the monarch could "raise an eyebrow" in the close-fought campaign.

A few days before the referendum in September, the Queen told a well-wisher in Aberdeenshire that she hoped "people would think very carefully about the future".

Mr Cameron later said the Queen had "purred" when he told the result of the independence referendum. 

In a conversation overheard by journalists, the Tory leader told the then Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, that he had called the Queen to say "it's all right", he said: "She purred down the line. I've never heard someone so happy."