Letter: Peers and pageantry

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Sir: Your leader arguing for the removal of the Monarch from the State Opening of Parliament ("Modern democracy does not need this royal performance", 24 November), misses the point of the ceremony and fails to recognise the value of drama and pageantry. The monarch is Head of State and, as such, speaks for the people. The particular value of the unelected monarch as opposed to an elected president, is that he or she can be said to speak for the entire population, whilst the elected person is tarnished by the fact that many people will have voted against them or not voted at all. This is very much the reason why the Prime Minister should not present the proposed legislation, as the monarch doing so implies that it is the will of the nation and not just of the party, thus reinforcing the fact that the opposing parties will accept peacefully the will of the majority.

The value of the pageantry is to bring this to the attention of the widest possible audience. You are naive if you imagine that as many people would pay attention to the event or the legislation if it were presented by the politicians alone. The repeated attempts to replace the monarchy with a drab system such as exists in other countries, all in the name of democracy, do a great disservice to the nation and its sense of identity. We have a unique and curious institution which has great value and your arguments to reduce and thus eventually abolish it are misguided.

ANTHONY D WOOD

Liskeard,

Cornwall

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