Letter: United monarchies of Europe

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Sir: In his letter of 21 October, Professor Stephen Haseler implies that monarchy is incompatible with a federal European Union. However, he overlooks the fact that six of the present 12 member states are monarchies and that when, as is expected in the near future, four more nations join, two of them - Norway and Sweden - are monarchies, thus maintaining the balance. He will also be aware that the EU's own literature acknowledges that its roots lie in the Holy Roman Empire of Charlemagne and, later, the Habsburgs.

As the EU develops, it is highly likely that national monarchies will be seen as an essential means of emphasising national identity. Both the German Customs Union and the German empire which succeeded it retained the monarchical structure of the member states.

The European Union may at some stage decide that it wants an overall representative figurehead, in rather the same way that Her Majesty the Queen is Head of the Commonwealth, some of whose members are monarchies, and some republics. There is a body of opinion which believes that such a figurehead should be a member of one of Europe's royal families.

Yours faithfully, DONALD FOREMAN Secretary-General Monarchist League London, WC1 22 October