An anti-monarchy group has called for the Queen to be censured over claims she intervened in the Scottish referendum while on a visit to the north-east.
The campaigning organisation Republic said the monarch should be reprimanded by MPs after it was alleged she entered the debate on behalf of Downing Street.
On September 14, four days before the historic vote, the Queen spoke to a well-wisher outside Crathie Kirk near Balmoral Estate on Deeside.
“Well, I hope people will think very carefully about the future,” she said, in a remark that was interpreted by many at the time as her giving her backing the Union.
It was reported yesterday that the move followed a suggestion from senior UK Government figures that an intervention by the Queen would help their cause.
Delicate negotiations were said to have been held between Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet secretary, and Sir Christopher Geidt, the Queen’s private secretary.
Downing Street and Buckingham Palace both declined to comment on the reports yesterday.
Graham Smith, chief executive of Republic, said: “The report makes clear that the Queen was prepared to take deliberate steps to encourage people to vote No in the referendum.
“Regardless of how people feel about Scottish independence we should all be alarmed at such a political intervention by a hereditary monarch.”
On social media, the SNP’s Glasgow convener, Natalie McGarry, wrote: “When the Queen allows herself to become a political tool, she undermines the role she has carved out.”
After the Queen made the remark at Crathie, a palace spokesman said that any suggestion that the Queen would wish to influence the outcome of the referendum was “categorically wrong”.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was reported earlier this month as saying: “I have no issue with anything the Queen did or did not say during the referendum.”
In 1977, as she marked the 25th anniversary of her accession to the throne, the Queen made remarks which were seen as an attempt by Jim Callaghan’s Labour government to warn of the dangers posed by the SNP.
She said: “I cannot forget that I was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
“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.”