Letter: The example of royal Europe

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From Mr F. M. M. Steiner

Sir: In castigating the Little Englanders Polly Toynbee ("... the monarchy must quit its infantile fairyland", 22 November) overlooks the fact that she seems to be one of them herself. There is nothing in her article about the experience of half a dozen other EU countries that are constitutional monarchies; they do have written constitutions and do not have the wholly excessive concentration of power in the hands of their prime ministers. What people who talk of Disneyland and soap operas also disregard is the part played in the affairs of the state by the monarchs concerned. Except for Sweden, none of those kingdoms has the separation between Crown and state mentioned by Andrew Marr ("The tale of Diana's revenge", 22 November), and in some cases, such as Spain, the personal influence of the head of state markedly exceeds his formal powers.

There is no reason why a modern constitution should be less compatible with a constitutional monarchy in this country than elsewhere in Europe, particularly if the system were adjusted to take account of the changes in this country's economic and international power and position, since the Queen's accession in 1952.

Yours faithfully,

F. M. M. Steiner

Deddington, Oxfordshire

22 November