Queen Elizabeth II has started her first official visit to Scotland since the Scottish parliamentary election in May, in which the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) prevailed.
It is also her first visit to Scotland since the death of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, in April.
On her first day of the official visit, the 95-year-old monarch visited the Irn-Bru headquarters in Cumbernauld as part of Royal Week, also known as Holyrood Week.
For Monday’s engagement the Queen was joined by the Duke of Cambridge (Prince William), who is known as the Earl of Strathearn in Scotland.
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) June 28, 2021 ">http://
The Queen was joined by The Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, on the first day of #RoyalWeek in Scotland.— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) June 28, 2021
After the Ceremony of the Keys, The Queen and The Duke met local volunteers and first responders to thank them for their efforts during the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/6rdLzJyiav
The Queen’s official visit is set to last four days, during which she is expected to perform in-person engagements to promote the monarchy’s position in Scotland.
The Duke of Cambridge will be equally busy as he plans to visit a BAE Systems shipyard to view the Royal Navy’s HMS Glasgow in construction, in addition to taking part in a steel-cutting ceremony for HMS Belfast.
The Queen’s visit to Scotland comes at the most sensitive period in the country’s modern history, with the SNP-led Scottish government increasingly at loggerheads with London over the constitutionally thorny issue of a new independence referendum.
Only last week the British government’s leading strategist for derailing Scottish independence, cabinet office minister Michael Gove, all but ruled out a new independence referendum (known as Indyref2) before the next UK general election, scheduled for 2024.