It would have been a  'deep wrench' for the Queen if Scotland had voted yes to independence in the 2014 referendum, according to a leading historian.

Professor Sir Tom Devine said the monarch's views on the constitution and the separation of the UK had been "overblown".

However he said the Queen would have known that her assertion that "Scotland should think very carefully"  ahead of the vote would be shared widely. 

He said that despite Alex Salmond's pledge to retain the monarchy under independence, the break up of the union would have affected her deeply.

He said: "I think its been blown up to some extent.

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"The very fact that she mentioned something of such historical importance must have been planned because she would know that those words would go out into the public domain very quickly.

"I think she would have felt a deep wrench of the terrible loosening of the bonds of one of the four nations of the UK."

READ MORE: Sir Tom Devine: I don't see the succession as a threat to the monarchy 

Interviewed by the BBC today as cameras followed the Queen's hearse travelling from Balmoral to Edinburgh, Prof Devine said he felt a "deep sadness at the poignant views" but also a sense of pride, "that the job she did and promised to do has been accomplished in a truly unsurpassed way."

The Motherwell-born historian was made a Knight of the Realm by the Queen with the sword of her father King George VI.

"She said that it gave her great pleasure to give this honour to a historian - and she raised her voice here -  for his services to the history of Scotland."

He said he had "no doubt" that the Royal family's deep connection to Scotland would continue under the new King, Charles III.