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The Monarchy in Turmoil: What's your view of royalty?: Danny Penman samples reaction to the monarchy's latest difficulty

Dr Richard Dawkins, geneticist and author: 'Nowadays we must regard hereditary succession as essentially a randomising device for choosing an unelected head of state.'

Noam Chomsky, linguist and author: 'Loss of the Royal Family's symbolism together with Britain's other problems may have serious outcomes. Those are pre-fascist conditions.'

Zaki Badawi, principal of Muslim College, London: 'The monarchy gives Britain great stability. It's a unifying factor between various groups because they owe allegiance to it.'

A S Byatt, novelist: 'The thing I mind about the monarchy is the people they marry - those vacant silly little girls. They should marry princesses and keep the mystique or marry real women.'

Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye: 'Who cares? The children should divorce the parents. Charles should become King only if Jonathan Dimbleby becomes Queen.'

The president of Queen's College, Cambridge, the Rev Dr John Polkinghorne: 'It's good for Britain to have a monarchy. Their private lives should remain private.'

(Photographs omitted)