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The palace was asked to ensure that the Queen remained ‘neutrally determined’ in every indyref2 after new discoveries

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BUCKINGHAM Palace has been asked to ensure that the Queen stays out of every second campaign for the independence referendum and remains “neutrally determined” as it was suggested that her intervention in the 2014 poll was carefully planned in advance.

In his new diaries, Lionel Barber, the former editor of the Financial Times, claims that just a week before the vote, Prince Andrew, during lunch at Buckingham Palace, revealed that Her Majesty was preparing to make a dramatic move at the height of the campaign.

The food came just four days after Downing St panicked after a YouGov poll for The Sunday Times that first put forward the Yes campaign.

David Cameron, the then Prime Minister, quickly sought help from the Palace to see how the Queen could help pull things off while maintaining her constitutional neutrality. The former prime minister suggested an eyebrow raised by the monarch, “even a quarter of an inch”, could do the trick and help save the 300-year-old Union.

The following Sunday, September 14, the Queen quietly told a member of the public outside Crathie Kirk, who is a little far from her Balmoral estate, that she hoped the Scots “would think very carefully about the future”.

Her Majesty’s remarks made headlines and, despite widespread public perception, the Palace insisted that any suggestion she had sought to influence the outcome of the referendum was “categorically wrong”.

The day before the referendum Mr Cameron took place alongside Ed Miliband, the then Labor leader, and Nick Clegg, who led the Liberal Democrats, signed the “oath”, promising Scotland “broad new powers”. On 18 September, the vote went from 55 per cent to 45 for Scotland to remain in the UK.

The Sunday Times reported that Mr Barber said he met with the Duke of York at Buckingham Palace, along with Ma Kai, China’s deputy prime minister, on September 11, just a week before the referendum.

He referred to how the prince gave him a “nod and a wink, winking an eye” about the Queen who was preparing to enter the debate that weekend.

He told The Sunday Times: “There is this scene where I’m at Buckingham Palace, invited by the rogue Duke of York to have lunch with the Chinese foreign minister, and Andrew suddenly half-drops that the Queen will intervene on Sunday.”

Calling the comments “stunningly bloody,” Mr Barber added: “It was interesting. They had a clear plan. It was done with a lot of artistry. Andrew knew it.

The former newspaper editor recalled how the atmosphere at the Palace that day “was disturbing that the referendum was on the edge of the knife”. He felt the Queen’s intervention “may have upset the balance” of the end result.

Tommy Sheppard, SNP Shadow Commons Leader, said: “This is shocking and extremely disturbing. If true, it means that there was political pressure on the Queen to suppress her in areas where the monarch should not go.

“I would hope that the Palace would be able to provide assurance that the Queen will remain resolutely neutral in the next referendum.”

After the No vote, Mr Cameron apologized for suggesting that the Queen had “picked up the phone” when told of the referendum result.

A Palace spokesman said: “We never comment on people’s memories of what were private conversations.”



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