Letter: Royalty and the ratpack

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The Independent Online
Sir: Stephen Haseler asks (letter, 12 September) how, at the end of the 20th century, democratic people can justify the principle of a hereditary head of state. He should ask the inhabitants of Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Spain, not noticeably undemocratic countries.

Would anyone looking for a civilised life choose the barbaric United States, or corrupt France or Italy, in preference? Indeed, it can be argued that the six-year-old democracy of Spain was saved by the intervention of the monarch.

Whether this country is a monarchy or a republic is a trivial irrelevance when it comes to solving our pressing problems. And the thought that I might be represented abroad by John Major or John Smith, or one of the great and good who make up our royal commissions, appals me. If we are to worry about 'how it all fits into the evolving institutions of Europe', we should remember that, of the 11 principal states of the European Community, five have hereditary heads of state.

Yours faithfully,


London, NW6

13 September