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Perfect shadows

All the bickering about the Royals is beside the point-what matters is the office, not the suitability of the office holder. Roger Scruton says this is better understood in former communist states than in old democracies

By Roger Scruton   January 1996

Monarchy has been so much in the news, and so much the subject of irreverent chatter, that it is not surprising that people seem no longer to understand its meaning. The Princess of Wales is described as an “ambassador for Britain”; the Prince of Wales as an “unsuitable head of state”; the Royal quarrel as “bringing the monarchy into disrepute”-as though we had some choice in the matter. The point of monarchy is that there is no choice. The crown owes its power, longevity and stabilising force to the fact that it passes by law to the person destined to…

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