At the Coronation, King Charles is advancing himself as the true heir, the sincere and solemn successor to centuries of royalty.

The ultimate continuity candidate.

How do you respond? Will you cry out and swear allegiance to the new King? Will you join the Archbishop of Canterbury’s “chorus of millions”?

It is an attempt to make the ceremony more inclusive, more populist and less posh. I get the concept.

Not entirely sure it will work though. Yes, many will participate. Following the service on their TV or wireless, they will repeat the solemn words with verve and vigour – or perhaps quietly, remembering past times and departed family.

However, others will disdain the notion as ludicrous. If they participate at all, it will be with an indignant, resentful yell.

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Others again may regard the event with indifference, remote from their troubled lives. In the longer term, that may be the real challenge for the Crown to overcome.

Opinion polls indicate that, among UK nations, the Crown is least popular in Scotland. To a degree, that may reflect Scottish nationalist scepticism towards an institution seen as quintessentially British, as intrinsically Unionist.

UK centres of power frequently struggle to cope with Scottish self-government. Whitehall departments require regular reminders.

But the palace gets it. The late Queen paid exceptionally close attention to Holyrood. I have absolutely no doubt that a kilted King Charles will do the same.

At the same time, the monarchy appears quietly alert to the threat which Scottish self-governance might ultimately pose to “the Firm”, to the institution itself.

In 1977, during a bout of devolutionary enthusiasm, the Queen’s Jubilee speech featured a reminder “of the benefits which union has conferred”.

In 2014, days before the independence referendum, Her Majesty was heard to tell a well-wisher outside Crathie Kirk that she hoped voters would “think very carefully about the future.”

HeraldScotland: Former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon greets King CharlesFormer First Minister Nicola Sturgeon greets King Charles (Image: free)

Both interventions were designed to influence opinion, to remind Scots of two historical events, the Parliamentary Union of 1707 and the Regal Union of 1603. In short, of the United Kingdom.

Both interventions spoke of anxiety at the heart of the monarchy.

Now, I would not want to push my next point too far but it is at least arguable that Scotland has had a distinctive attitude to the monarchy for centuries.

The Declaration of Arbroath will soon go on public display in the National Museum of Scotland. Some say that, in addition to asserting Scottish sovereignty, it features the principle of popular consent, of contractual monarchy.

More generally, it has been argued that Scotland tended to resist the concept of absolute monarchy.

I consulted Professor Sir Tom Devine, Scotland’s pre-eminent historian.

He told me: “The Scottish monarch in medieval and early modern time was less autocrat and more primus inter pares and collaborationist with other agencies of government."

This, he said, “was symbolised by the monarch’s central position in a single chamber parliament arranged in a horseshoe fashion with the monarch at the centre rather than being ensconced in a throne above all”.

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Again, to underline, I would not seek to make too much of this. However, it is at least feasible that the British monarchy has a particular problem in Scotland, arising from a combination of historical and contemporary factors.

Mostly, this issue remains submerged, as people get on with their lives.

Very occasionally, it breaks through into Scottish political discourse. I recall in particular the Perth and Kinross by-election in May 1995.

The SNP candidate was Roseanna Cunningham, then and since no fan of the monarchy.

Questioned by journalists, self included, Ms Cunningham explained that she believed the monarchy to be “the pinnacle of the class system.”

The Tories, defending the seat, pursued this issue relentlessly. They billed their opponent “Republican Rose.”

In the event, the Tories came third. Ms Cunningham won comfortably – and later became a Holyrood cabinet secretary.

Again, let us not make too much of this. At that point, the Scottish Tories were en route to their eventual wipe-out at the 1997 General Election.

Let us simply reflect upon history and acknowledge that, for some, the Coronation may revive contemplation of the very concept of monarchy.

I asked each of the parties represented in Holyrood to comment upon the relevance of the monarchy to modern Scotland.

As you would expect, the Conservatives were highly supportive, describing the monarchy as “one of the most loved and respected institutions across Scotland”. They added that the Crown “provides stability” and has shown the capacity to adapt to the modern age.

The Greens took the opposite view. They characterised monarchy as “an archaic, dated and fundamentally undemocratic model of government”. They advocated an elected head of state.

The other three parties could perhaps be described as treading warily to some degree, reflecting Scottish ambivalence.

The SNP noted that their policy was “to retain the monarchy in an independent Scotland.”

Such, indeed, has long been the case, their objective being to repeal the 1707 Union, not the earlier regal version.

In addition, I suspect the calculation is that picking a fight over the monarchy could be a vote-losing distraction from that primary aim.

However, the SNP added that it “will be for the people of Scotland to decide the role of the monarchy” in the independent state the party envisages.

Labour said: “The monarchy is undoubtedly a huge part of our collective history and continues to be important to many people in Scotland.

“While people of course hold a range of views, the King’s Coronation this weekend will be a significant moment and will show the positive role the monarchy can continue to play in Scotland.”

The Liberal Democrats expressed hope for an enjoyable family day, “regardless of whether people are enthusiastic monarchists”.

They added that no-one is above scrutiny, urging transparent engagement with the UK’s legislatures.

Few, I think, would suggest there is an immediate challenge to the monarchy. But there are questions, there are doubts.

If he is wise, the new sovereign may wish to reflect Scotland’s different history by engaging with the people and so perhaps projecting himself to some degree as “King of Scots”, in addition to the titles conferred upon him by the coronation.