HC Deb 15 April 1953 vol 514 cc199-201
46. Lieut.-Colonel Elliot

asked the Prime Minister whether, in advising the Sovereign to assume the title of Elizabeth II, he took into consideration the desirability of adopting the principle of using whichever numeral in the English or Scottish lines of Kings and Queens happens to be the higher.

The Prime Minister

The decision to assume the title of Elizabeth II was of course taken on the advice of the Accession Council and the form of the proclamation was approved by Her Majesty's Government.

Since the Act of Union the principle to which my right hon. and gallant Friend refers has in fact been followed. Although I am sure neither The Queen nor her advisers could seek to bind their successors in such a matter, I think it would be reasonable and logical to continue to adopt in future whichever numeral in the English or Scottish line were higher. Thus if, for instance, a King Robert or a King James came to the throne he might well be designated by the numeral appropriate to the Scottish succession, thereby emphasising that our Royal Family traces its descent through the English Royal line from William the Conqueror and beyond, and through the Scottish Royal line from Robert the Bruce and Malcolm Canmore and still further back. Her Majesty's present advisers would for their part find no difficulty in accepting such a principle. From this it naturally follows that there should not in their view be any difficulty anywhere in acknowledging the Style and Title of Her present Majesty.

Lieut.-Colonel Elliot

Will my right hon. Friend have a special note taken of this matter for the archives in future years so that a point of great interest to many people and one of much historical importance should never be overlooked?

The Prime Minister

I cannot conceive that it will be ignored by the regular methods of reporting, and not remembered by all who take a special interest in it.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the Prime Minister aware that however trifling it may seem to people on this side of the Border, the handling of this thing has caused a certain amount of irritation among the population of Scotland and that it would be very useful if some courtesy were shown to Scotland when they ask for information? The Prime Minister has gone some way towards that.

Mrs. Mann

Is the Prime Minister aware that this decision has set Scotland one terrific problem because the Mint has decided to issue the coins with "Elizabeth II," and Scots who object to this title are placed in an awful dilemma?

The Prime Minister

I hope that theoretical refinements will not prevent the normal conduct of business.

Mr. Gower

Can the Prime Minister state what course will be followed if a future British monarch should bear the name Llewellyn?

The Prime Minister

I hope I may ask for long notice of that question

Mr. Manuel

Will the right hon. Gentleman indicate, in connection with the adoption of the title of Elizabeth II, what discussions he had with the Secretary of State for Scotland and what his attitude was?

The Prime Minister

I had long and searching discussions with the Secretary of State for Scotland who has gone up, I believe, on some political engagement in the North at the present time. We searchingly examined the whole problem, and it was with his full concurrence, and even on his advice, that I gave the answer which I have just read to the House.

Mr. Ross

Will the Prime Minister tell us why he decided on 1066 as the starting date for this? Was it to get out of the difficulty of the fact that the first King Edward is not known as Edward I, but as Edward the Confessor?

The Prime Minister

As the great scroll of history unfolds many complicated incidents occur which it is difficult to introduce effectively into the pattern of the likes and dislikes of the epoch in which we live.