Letter: Cut the cost and the embarrassment of a monarchy with an elected president

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Cut the cost and the embarrassment of a monarchy with an elected president A president would be cheaper and less embarrassing than the Royal Family

DONALD Foreman of the Constitutional Monarchy Association (Letters, 25 February) may well be correct when he argues that many respondents of the MORI poll on the future of the Royal Family are unaware of the respective costs of monarchies and presidencies.

He is, however, highly selective in the comparison he chooses. Mr Foreman fails to mention, for example, that the costs of the German, French, Italian and Irish presidencies all amount to less than 3 per cent of the cost of the British Royal Family. Nor does he refer to the fact that expenditure on the British monarchy substantially exceeds that of all six other major European royal households combined.

The Queen's 73 per cent approval rating, while creditable, was achieved in the absence of any rival candidates for the post. Moreover, Mr Foreman's attempts to compare the respective popularity ratings of an executive and a non-executive head of state (President Clinton and the Queen) are misleading.

Mr Foreman also quotes an opinion poll revealing that 6 million Germans are in favour of restoring their monarchy, without mentioning that this represents a small minority of a pop- ulation of more than 80 million.

German President Dr Roman Herzog may not be the most charismatic figure, but he has at least represented his country with great dignity. Many of us would welcome a nondescript head of state whose family's antics were not a constant source of national embarrassment and humiliation.

Paul A Bryan

London N21