Letter: Crowning absurdity

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Sir: Irene Birch is right that the Belgians had a referendum on the monarchy (letter, 9 September).

The referendum was held after the end of the Second World War to decide whether Leopold III should remain on the throne.

Opinions were divided about whether he had done the right thing in staying in Belgium during the Nazi occupation (the Dutch royals ran away to England instead) or had dishonoured the crown by compromising too much with the enemy.

The referendum went in Leopold III's favour, but only by a majority of 57 per cent.

Feeling that his popular support was insufficient, the king abdicated in 1951 in favour of his son Boudewijn who reigned for the next 42 years.

Demos please note: just because a referendum comes out in favour of a candidate for the monarchy, it doesn't mean the people will get the monarch they voted for.