The Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has publicly told the Queen that Scotland should be a separate and “equal” nation to England.

In a speech to the Scottish Parliament Salmond said the “newly democratised” Scotland should become an separate nation to England while retaining the Union of the Crowns.

He said: “From 1603, until this Parliament entered a rather long adjournment in 1707, your predecessors reigned over two sovereign nations – and there was nothing particularly unusual in that arrangement.”

 “And today, Your Majesty, you come here as Queen of Scots but also as head of state of 16 different realms and leader of a Commonwealth comprising 54 nations. It is a role which you have always taken seriously and discharged flawlessly.”

He went onto say that since devolution in 1999 Scotland has been moving into a “different age”.

“We have grown in esteem and ambition and we wish to grow more. This is a country increasingly comfortable in its own skin,” he said.

He even threw Her Maj’s words back at her, from a speech she made in Ireland in May when she described Britain and Ireland are “firm friends and equal partners”.

 “However, whatever constitutional path that the people of Scotland choose – and it is their choice to make – we will aspire to be, in your words, ‘firm friends and equal partners’,” he said rather cheekily.

The Queen who is said to be concerned about the breaking up of the 304 year union between Scotland and England gave as good as she got, saying: “No one would ever argue that Scottish politics is the business of the meek, the passive or the faint-hearted.”

The Scottish National Party leader who won a landslide election victory two months ago has promised to hold an independence referendum during his term.