William and Kate could be asked to spend more time in Scotland under plans reportedly drawn up to save the union.
A report in The Sunday Times says the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would spend more time at Balmoral and in the town of St Andrews where they met at university.
The plans, drawn up by palace officials, come as the argument over Scottish independence intensifies following the Scottish National Party’s victory in last month’s election.
SNP leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said a number of times that she wants a second referendum, after the last one in September 2014 saw the independence cause defeated.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the UK should focus on the recovery from COVID-19.
According to the newspaper, some in the royal household fear that politicians are “losing Scotland” – and officials believe the couple could serve as a “visible symbol of the bonds between England and Scotland”.
One source said: “Advisers want William and Kate to be in Balmoral a lot more and build on their St Andrews connection. They want them not to look like visitors but to look like residents.”
William and Kate have recently been on a tour of Scotland, where William spoke about how the country was “so important” to him and his wife.
He described it as “vibrant, friendly, innovative and determined”, also saying: “I’m shaped by this place.
“The abiding affection I feel for it is rooted in my experience of its everyday life in people, relationships, and its ethic of neighbourliness.”
During the tour, William and Kate met former prime minister Gordon Brown, who campaigned against independence in the last referendum and is now focusing on “middle Scotland” – those with no fixed views on the issue.
Mr Brown has described this sector of society as “patriots not nationalists” who want greater cooperation between the UK’s governments.
Last month, a spokesperson for Kensington Palace said: “During his time in Scotland Prince William has spoken to a broad range of people from different communities including politicians from across the political spectrum.”