Letter: Royal reform

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WHILE agreeing with most of what Anne McElvoy writes on the idea of the Queen's retirement (15 March), I must part company with her when she declares that a compact, dignified, unifying monarchy is the best defence against republicanism.

What is sacrosanct about the monarchy? Any institution that believes that birthright is a qualification for playing a role, however minor, in the nation's affairs is an anachronism. To those who say that we would lose much of our tradition if we abolish the monarchy, I say look at Paris, Rome or Washington, where the state is just as efficient at putting on a show as colourful as anything we can stage.

Clive Cunningham

Brentford, London