Nicola Sturgeon opens up about 'special' conversations with the Queen

Nicola Sturgeon opens up on her ‘very special’ conversations with the Queen – but doesn’t mention Her Majesty’s desire to keep Scotland in the UK

  • The former First Minister of Scotland reflected on her time with the late monarch

Nicola Sturgeon has opened up about her ‘very special’ conversations with the late Queen – but neglected to mention Her Majesty’s desire to keep Scotland in the UK. 

The former first minister of Scotland revealed that she spent several hours chatting with the monarch, who she claimed ‘liked a bit of gossip’. 

Sturgeon added that Queen Elizabeth would try to work out the ‘real story’ behind newspaper reports and was ‘scarily well-informed’. 

She said that she was granted a private audience with the Queen twice a year: in the summer when she came to Holyrood and in the autumn in Balmoral – which in total consisted of ‘several hours’ of discussions. 

Speaking on the Rosebud with Gyles Brandreth podcast on Friday, Sturgeon said: ‘She was wonderful… I consider myself very privileged to have had in total several hours of private time.

Nicola Sturgeon has opened up about her ‘very special’ conversations with the late Queen (pictured together in June 2022)

The former first minister of Scotland revealed that she spent several hours chatting with the monarch (pictured in June 2019), who she claimed ‘liked a bit of gossip’

Former first minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon leaves after giving evidence to the UK Covid-19 Inquiry at Dorland House in London 

Describing the Queen’s personality, she continued: ‘She was incredibly warm, chatty, she would always just put you at your ease.

‘At times she was very very very well informed – scarily well-informed. 

‘I’d be stressing about “Do I know everything that’s happened in Scotland in the past 48 hours? Because she will and she will ask you about it!”‘

‘She liked a bit of gossip! She liked to know what was happening in the political world so she would ask me things about things she’d read in the papers and what was the “real story” here.’

She said that the Queen would also reflect on audiences she had held with the likes of Churchill and Mandela. 

Sturgeon said: ‘It was incredible these discussions. They were very very special.’ 

Unsurprisingly, the former SNP leader did not mention the Queen’s desire to keep Scotland in the UK. 

Before the 2014 independence referendum, Her Majesty urged people to think ‘very carefully’ about the way they would vote, in a strong indication she wanted the Union to stay together. 

The Queen meets with Sturgeon as she attends the opening of the fifth session of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, July 2016

Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on the Queensferry Crossing during the official opening of the new bridge across the Firth of Forth, September 2017

Queen Elizabeth II receives the-then SNP leader during an audience at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, 2021

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reads a statement at Bute House, Edinburgh, following the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II

Buckingham Palace repeatedly insisted during her life that the Queen was impartial in political matters. 

After the vote confirmed Scotland would stay in the UK, the Queen said in a statement that it was ‘a result that all of us throughout the United Kingdom would respect’.  

The final meeting between The Queen and Sturgeon took place in June 2022, a couple of months before her death in September that year.

The First Minister was received by Her Majesty at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and gifted the Queen a bottle of Johnnie Walker whisky and a tartan blanket.  

The Queen loved Scotland all her life, spending many happy weeks in her Highland residence Balmoral Castle.

She would always look forward to her annual holiday there – one of the few times she could fully relax.  

As a young girl she spent much time in the country, often with her parents at Balmoral or grandparents at Glamis.  

Buckingham Palace declined to comment when contacted by MailOnline. 

Sturgeon’s strained relationship with the Royal Family, from boycotting a visit by the Queen, ‘swiping’ at Wills and Kate and refusing to swear an oath of loyalty to the Queen

Former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon 

Key events include:  

1999 – 

After being first elected, Ms Sturgeon chooses to make her oath of allegiance in the Scottish Parliament to the sovereignty of the people, not the Monarch. 

2003 – 

She boycotts a visit by the Queen to the Scottish Parliament. 

 2014 – 

Sources suggest the Scottish government was preparing to refuse to contribute to the costs of operating the monarchy. Ms Sturgeon denies the story. 

December 2020 – 

Furious Tories slam Ms Sturgeon’s ‘swipe’ at Prince William and Kate Middleton after the couple were accused of breaking Covid rules during a whistle-stop tour to Scotland. 

Following criticism of the Cambridges, the First Minister said at a daily briefing that her government had reminded the Palace of the strict Covid restrictions north of the border ahead of the visit. 

One Tory MP slammed the comments as ‘unsubtle’ and ‘rude’, while another accused the SNP leader of being ‘petty’. 

June 2022 – 

In carefully phrased comments, SNP leader pays tribute to the Queen during her Jubilee but insists republicans ‘have the right to protest’ against the monarchy. 

Asked by the BBC if she was a monarchist, Ms Sturgeon replied: ‘I support the Queen and her successors remaining the head of state. That’s the policy of my party.’ 

After returning to Holyrood she opted to make a ‘solemn affirmation’ rather than swear an oath of loyalty to the Queen. 

September 2022-

Sturgeon pays tribute to the Queen, saying ‘Scotland loved, respected and admired her’. 

March 2023-

Sturgeon hands in her resignation letter to King Charles, saying it had been a ‘pleasure’ to serve

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