Leading article: A peculiar idea

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The Independent Online

The Dean of Westminster Abbey is inviting the public to comment on bold plans to alter the London skyline by placing a corona – a feature in the shape of the crown – on the roof. Could this mark the start of round three of the war waged by a certain royal against carbuncles sprouting on the face of much-loved friends?

As the abbey became a "royal peculiar" after the Reformation, the Queen has a say on matters there – and may warm to a large crown appearing on the roof. Her eldest son, on the other hand, may itch to scupper what the Dean has suggested could be a "21st-century" design.

It would be disappointing if the Dean's vision went the same way as that of Sir Richard Rogers in Chelsea. Much of our allure of churches stems from the way various generations have imposed different conceptions of beauty on the same building. By pleading for a modern addition to the abbey, the Dean honours an ancient tradition. The corona could become his crowning achievement.

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