The Duchess of Cambridge (a.k.a. Kate Middleton) hasn't yet given birth to Prince George's younger sibling, but the unborn child is already being talked up as the key to keeping the realm together.
Prince William and his wife announced Monday they're expecting a second child, just before Middleton is meant to embark on an overseas tour to Malta later this month, The Independent reported.
But no sooner had the royals announced the new baby than it became the subject of debate surrounding Scotland's referendum on independence, which takes place Sept. 18.
The country is seeking to secede, in part, because national pride has grown since a process known as "devolution" transferred responsibility over matters including education and social affairs to the Scottish parliament in 1997, The Economist reported.
There is also a feeling that it can thrive on its own, in much the same way that Denmark, Norway and Sweden do, said the magazine.
Some have noted the announcement of the new baby could help swing more votes against secession from the United Kingdom.
The royal family retains plenty of popularity in Scotland. Kate and William met at the University of St Andrews in 2001, and students there clapped and cheered when Prince George was born last year, student Dani Goldberg told The Telegraph.
Kate Middleton and Prince William following their graduation from the University of St Andrews.
"When you tell people you go to St Andrews, their first question is, 'Have you met your Prince or Princess?" she told the newspaper.
Goldberg said that the announcement of a new baby could help Scots recall their fondness for the royal family and, perhaps, even the United Kingdom.
William has also spent much time at Aberdeenshire's Balmoral Castle, a private residence belonging to the royal family. Queen Elizabeth II holidays there every summer, according to The Washington Post.
William and Kate even retain separate titles in Scotland — the Earl and Countess of Strathearn. Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, who leads the Scottish Independence Party and is pushing for a "Yes" vote in the referendum, addressed the couple as such when he congratulated them.
Congratulations & best wishes to the Earl & Countess of Strathearn. Wonderful to hear they're expecting their second baby – very happy news!— Alex Salmond (@AlexSalmond) September 8, 2014
Salmond has said that Scotland would retain the queen as its head of state in the event of a "Yes" vote, going so far as to say that Queen Elizabeth II would be "proud to be Queen of Scots," The Telegraph reported.
It would thus operate like countries such as Canada, which elects its own prime minister but whose monarchy is represented by the governor general.
(It's worth noting that, last year, then-Quebec premier Pauline Marois met with Salmond and offered him documents relating to the 1995 referendum, but he refused them.)
The news about the royal baby came as at least one survey showed respondents in favour of independence. A poll conducted by YouGov for the Sunday Times found 51 per cent support for the nationalist side, versus 49 per cent in favour of remaining in the union.
Though some believe that another royal baby might stave off a "Yes" vote, others are skeptical.
Voters in an online poll on The Guardian's website resoundingly said "No" when asked whether the baby could "save the union."
"Everybody would offer the Duke and Duchess the warmest congratulations and the very best," he said. "But I am quite sure that all of that is completely above politics."
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