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German history points to Queen’s decline

May 21st, 1990

A letter to the Daily Telegraph which was published on 21st May 1990.

Few readers will, I suspect be convinced by Ferdinand Mount’s assurances (article, May 18) that European Union would not affect the position of the Monarchy.

Nor do bland assurances along the same lines from such as Mr Edward Heath and Mr Gerald Kaufman at the time of the Dublin summit carry conviction.  Nobody of course is suggesting that the Queen will simply disappear if Mr Heath’s passionate desire to convert this country into a province of Franco-German Europe is fulfilled.

Nor is it supposed that the Prince of Wales will stop making speeches.  What people see is that the essence of the Queen’s role as Head of State will evaporate as she is replaced in that role by a President of Europe.

In fact the first unification of Germany, after the Franco-Prussian war in 1871, provides an exact illustration.  Bavaria Wurtemberg and Baden were kingdoms which were incorporated into the new Germany.  Their monarchs, while continuing on their thrones until 1918, became of vastly diminished significance.  Today these states are simply provinces of the German Federal Republic.

In Britain the queen symbolises the freedom of the British people alone to make their own laws and employ their armed forces to defend that freedom, as they alone see fit – arguably the essential freedm contained within clause 39 of Magna Carta itself.  When that freedom is abolished the single most important aspect of the Queen’s role is abolished with it.