Letter: The overlooked value of duty and dignity

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The Independent Online
Catherine Pepinster's article ("The age of duty and the stiff upper lip is over", 7 September) epitomises the belief that Princess Diana made it clear that the monarchy is out of date.

In a generation which has frequently had no historical teaching of history, it is possible that the role of the monarchy in the transition from Empire to Commonwealth has not been fully understood. The dignity, called "stuffiness", the duty, now dismissed as out of date, the stiff upper lip, which has led to courtesy to everyone in the most difficult circumstances including being the target for missiles, has led to a cohesion and standards of behaviour that has kept something of Pax Britannica all over the world.

It is the clear integrity of the Royals, their impartial charm to anyone of whatever class or caste, creed or colour, that has held a situation into which the princess could display her undoubted charm. If the Queen herself had behaved like Madonna, worn a bikini or generally played to the media, our presently comfortable position with the preference trade of so many countries would have disappeared. It is the very "stuffiness" that to others is reliability, which has held the Commonwealth together.

Elisabeth Beckett

Calne, Wilts