Letter: French don't have a hang-up about women

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The Independent Online
In your report from France ("A Woman's Place is in the House", 27 April) you state that France had no woman leader between Joan of Arc and prime minister Edith Cresson. But if your correspondent took a walk in the Luxembourg Gardens, he would see statues of two women who ruled as Regent. Both were mothers of kings who inherited the crown as children. Not only were these women accepted by the French at the time, but a later generation remembered them enough to put up statues.

In England in 1483, when a child inherited the crown, an uncle took power and the child was murdered. In 1547, when the king was a minor, an unrelated nobleman was installed as Protector. In 1688, the Crown was deemed to pass jointly to Mary, daughter of the deposed James II, and her husband who became William III. You can find statues of William in London, but none of Mary. It seems to be yet another matter which they order better in France.

Mervyn Jones

London SW1

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