ELIZABETH QUEEN OF SCOTS; Alex Salmond Wants the Queen to Be Head of State in an Independent Scotland but Republicans Believe the Debate on Our Constitutional Future Must Include the Future Role, If Any, of the Royals. Here, to Mark the Diamond Jubilee, Vernon Bogdanor, Modern History Professor at King's College, London, Says a Hereditary Royal Family Can Remain at the Head of a Modern Democracy. ANALYSIS LONG TO REIGN OVER US?
The author L P Hartley famously wrote: "The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there."
Britain in 1952 was certainly another country, one barely recognisable today.
The monarchy was a magical, almost mystical, institution.
A survey in 1953 revealed that a third of those questioned believed the Queen to have been chosen by God and the newly crowned Eilzabeth II presided over a country in which power was concentrated in a single sovereign Parliament at Westminster.
The claims of Scotland were barely recognised.
Admittedly, Winston Churchill, Prime Minister for the second time in 1951, asked Lord Home, Minister of State at the Scottish Office to "quell those turbulent Scots".
A Royal Commission under Lord Balfour was established to consider the structure of government in Scotland. Its terms of reference prevented it from recommending devolution, and it contented itself with coming up with minor administrative changes.
But the Scots were content, not turbulent, and in 1955, the Conservatives won a majority of seats and votes in Scotland, the only time this has been achieved by any party since the war.
By the time of the Silver Jubilee in 1977, much had changed.
Parliament was in the middle of debating devolution to Scotland and Wales.
In her Jubilee Address at Westminster on 4 May 1977, the Queen said: "Perhaps this Jubilee is a time to remind ourselves of the benefits which union has conferred at home and in our international dealings, on the inhabitants of all parts of this United Kingdom".
In contrast to 1977, it is separation not devolution that is now on the political agenda.
But the SNP, who used to be a republican party, have become monarchist.
The SNP were wise to embrace the monarchy, since republicanism has never had much popular support. …