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Tuesday 12 April 2011

The Riddell Of Phil Space

I have a confession to make: I’ve just read right through a long, tedious and ultimately pointless piece of Phil Space journalism, and would urge anyone else not to bother. The article is in the comment part of the Maily Telegraph, written by one Mary Riddell, and is supposed to be discussing reformation of the monarchy.

Except that is does very little in that direction: Riddell takes several paragraphs just to get close to the subject, preferring instead to consider – at length – how royalist or otherwise our party leaders might be. We are then told that, in Nick Clegg’s case, this makes matters “awkward” for him (Why? Best not ask. Don’t want to set her off again), and then Riddell gets round to the upcoming Royal Wedding.

And finally the subject comes into view: reform. So what radical, previously unheard of and ground breaking measure is up for discussion? Well, the best La Riddell can manage is the idea of allowing the succession via female as well as male offspring. It’s an equality thing. But the female part of the Royal Family has managed quite well for the last 200 years.

Just in case Riddell hasn’t done her sums, here are the numbers: since 1811, when George III was on the throne, Kings (seven of them) have reigned for just 77 years, while Victoria and Brenda have between them racked up 123 years. So Queens have done rather better, whatever the rule on succession.

The idea that this is some kind of constitutional hot potato – Riddell suggests that push may come to shove if the future Princess Catherine’s first child is a daughter – is complete bunk. Very few people are bothered. And very few will even think of changing the arrangements until the latter part of the reign of William V, which is far enough into the future to be presently irrelevant.

But it fills up a few more column inches, and I’m sure Mary Riddell gets paid for it, so that’s all right, then.

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