Scotland will have a number of options for the head of state if it chooses independence next week. It certainly seems like First Minister Alex Salmond and his SNP government would like to keep the monarchy in its current way. However, the Scottish people may want to know all the options should Queen Elizabeth II refuse.
The main option is certainly to keep the monarchy as it currently is. Elizabeth II has refused to speak about the current referendum, as convention prevents her from discussing politics. However, it would make sense for her to become Queen of Scotland considering she is a descendent from James VI. James VI became James I of England after the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, joining the two countries together under a monarch. It was in 1707 that his great-granddaughter, Queen Anne, arranged the Act of Union and Scotland and England became the United Kingdom.
However, there is a debate over the validity of the monarchy. While Elizabeth II is the head of the state, she has no control over the politics of the United Kingdom. Some question the need for her and her family, and some question why the taxpayers are even paying for them. One valid point is that the monarchy does bring in a lot of tourism, but is that enough of a reason to keep it as the head of an independent country?
People want to know the other options for heads of state for an independent Scotland. One would be to move in the direction of America, and have a president instead. There would be questions how that would work. Would the Scottish people vote in the same way that the American government is selected, or would a similar method to the current system be the way to go?
While there are some republicans in the country, there are other monarchy options available. Scotland has a history of supporting the Jacobite rule. This was after James II of England was overthrown by his eldest daughter and son-in-law, William and Mary. Had King James continued to rule, the thrown would have likely passed onto his youngest child, a son also called James.
Some of the Scottish people viewed him as the rightful heir, along with his son Bonnie Prince Charlie. The Jacobite line continued and Franz Bonaventura Adalbert Maria von Wittelsbach is the current considered king. However, he has no descendents of his own. The line would pass to his nephew, Max-Emanuel Ludwig Maria von Wittelsbach.
The question is whether the majority would accept the Jacobite line. It is likely that many would accept a president before those who were viewed by pretenders to the throne by protestant members of the country back in the 17th century.
It is clear that there are a few options, though. However, it is very likely that Queen Elizabeth II will take on the duty, and then that right would pass onto her son and then grandson. That is certainly the option for head of state that Salmond wants for and independent Scotland.
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham