PATRICK Harvie has told King Charles to his face that the “reality of human life is not rooted in status or title” in an overtly political speech nominally paying tribute to the Queen.

The Scottish Green party co-leader also raised the British Empire, racism and the fight for gay rights while speaking to a motion of condolence in the Holyrood chamber.

In a nod to his own republicanism, the Glasgow MSP said “the tide of progress cannot be halted” and he hoped the King would witness “transformational” change himself.

It was the latest royal controversy involving Mr Harvie, who last year labelled the monarchy “an outdated, discredited and totally undemocratic institution”.

Video - Scottish Parliament TV

After the death of the King’s late father, Mr Harvie raised the Duke of Edinburgh’s “extreme wealth and privilege” during Holyrood tributes to him.

He told MSPs he did not want to show the Duke any “personal disrespect”, but said it would have been “wrong to give a performance of feelings not sincerely felt”.

In today's motion of condolence for the Queen, Mr Harvie was more subtle, but no less determined to make a point.

With the King and Queen Consort sitting next to Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone, a former Green MSP herself, Mr Harvie said: “The experience of loss is universal.

"It comes into all of our lives. It is a reminder that the reality of human life is not rooted in status, or in title, but in the connections we make; bonds of love and friendship, of family, and of service to one another.

"People of all views can respect this, whatever else we may disagree about.”

He said he offered his party’s “sincere condolences” to the Queen’s family "and to all those whose lives she touched", implying he wasn't in the latter camp.

Reflecting on the Queen’s 70-year reign, he said: “At the last Coronation, the oath still referred to other countries as the possessions of an Empire.

"And here at home, human rights and equality were distant ideas; with racist discrimination remaining legal, and people treated as criminals and outcasts because of their sexuality. 

“Now, we can look back and celebrate extraordinary progressive change, even as we must continue to defend what has been achieved.

“There are those for whom the long reign of Elizabeth II, and indeed the institution of monarchy, represent continuity, stability, permanence.

"But in truth the tide of progress cannot be halted. It feels slow as we live it day by day, but in time, it is dramatic.

“So Presiding Officer, as Charles III begins his reign, let us hope, indeed redouble our determination that he will have the opportunity to witness change just as transformational and more. It is still needed.”

Unlike the leaders of the Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, Mr Harvie did not say “God Save the King”. 

Neither did Nicola Sturgeon, who brought Mr Harvie into her Government last year.  

He is currently minister for zero carbon buildings, active travel and tenants rights, a position that adds £31,383 a year to his basic MSP’s salary of £66,662.