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What To Make Of The Queen's 'Think Carefully' Comment

Before now, Queen Elizabeth had been reluctant to weigh in on the Scotland independence debate, citing her "constitutional impartiality."
Posted at 12:31 PM, Sep 15, 2014

Just a few days until Scotland votes on whether to break a 300-year-old union with England, the queen drops this bombshell.

BBC: "The Queen broke her silence at a church service near Balmoral saying she hoped people would think very carefully about the future."

Ok, so maybe not a bombshell. But as Monday's headlines would suggest, that off-the-cuff comment she made to a member of the public marks a major reversal for a queen who has until now stayed silent on the issue of Scotland's independence  — citing her "constitutional impartiality."

Then again, although she hasn't taken sides publicly, it's hard to imagine she doesn't privately have a strong opinion on the matter. (Video via The British Monarchy

Or as the Mirror's royal correspondent put it, "It doesn't take a genius to work out where her heart lies" — especially when you consider her strong ties to Scotland. 

She is, after all, actually a direct descendant of Mary, Queen of Scots, not of her namesake, England's Queen Elizabeth I.

Elizabeth's mother was Scottish, and Elizabeth and her sister, Margaret, grew up with a Scottish nanny. 

The queen returns every summer to Scotland to stay at Balmoral Castle. 

And also spends one week at Holyroodhouse Palace, the former residence of the kings and queens of Scotland.

Clearly, Scotland means a great deal to the queen, which is why her silence on the issue is a bit surprising. Then again, that wasn't always the case.

This is what she told the British Parliament on the eve of a Scottish devolution vote back in 1977.

QUEEN ELIZABETH: "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." (Video via YouTube / iconic)

Like her latest comments, those too are up for interpretation, although most observers took them to mean she was making the case for a unified United Kingdom.

And you could argue that's exactly what she was doing during her latest Scotland visit. As Gordon Rayner of The Telegraph suggests, her aside wasn't entirely unplanned: "The Queen knows full well that when she speaks to members of the public, reporters will speak to them afterwards to find out what she said."

Also probably no coincidence, Prince Philip donned a kilt while in Scotland. He is, after all, the Duke of Edinburgh.