The Queen has expressed serious concern that the independence referendum is tearing communities across Scotland apart.
In an unprecedented intervention, Her Majesty has urged the Church of Scotland to do what it can to “heal” wounds inflicted by the bruising contest, which comes to a head on September 18.
The Queen said the Kirk had a pivotal role in “holding the people of Scotland together” and urged people of faith and goodwill to work together for the social good, whatever the result.
Her thoughts were conferred to the Kirk’s General Assembly on Saturday in the presence of her youngest son Prince Edward and his wife Sophie.
The Earl of Wessex is following in the footsteps of his brothers Prince Charles and Prince Andrew and sister Princess Anne to continue the link between the Kirk and monarchy as lord high commissioner.
Reading a letter from the Queen, the Kirk’s acting principal clerk George Whyte said: “Throughout the history of Scotland, the Church of Scotland has played a key part in shaping the governance of Scotland and Scottish society.
“We recognise that contained within the articles declaratory of the Church of Scotland, church and state hold mutual duties towards one another.
“So in this important year of referendum, we pray that whatever the outcome, people of faith and people of goodwill will work together for the social good of Scotland.
“We recognise too the important role that the church can play in holding the people of Scotland together, in healing divisions and in safeguarding the interests of the most vulnerable.”
The Kirk is holding a so-called wound healing reconciliation ceremony three days after the independence referendum at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.
The Queen also recognised the welcoming role the Kirk would play in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
She said she believed that World War I commemoration events marked a “time to pray for the peacemakers of the world and for a day when nations shall live at peace with one another”.
First Minister Alex Salmond attended the opening day of the General Assembly.
He said: “Her Majesty is right to highlight the importance of everyone working together for the social good of Scotland, regardless of the outcome of the referendum.
“This is something I heartily endorse and should be welcomed across the political spectrum.”