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Former Telegraph editor calls monarchy ‘nonsense’ in an article defending it

14 Mar 2021 3 minute read
Max Hastings picture by the Financial Times (CC BY 2.0).

A former Telegraph editor has called the idea of monarchy a “nonsense” in an article defending the institution.

Max Hastings, who has claimed that the Welsh language is of “marginal value” and has “tortured spellings”, came to the defence of the institution in the wake of the Oprah Winfrey interview with Meghan and Harry and suggested that it needed a “rebrand”.

The historian, who has incorrectly stated that Wales is a principality, believes “it will continue to suit the British people to defy the logic of republicanism” and to “preserve and cherish the admittedly anachronistic institution”.

He also insisted that the royals are “entitled to expect from us a gratitude that we sometimes fail to display”.

Hastings criticised the heir to the British throne, the Prince of Wales, for his “egotism and private extravagance”, said that he lacks his “mother’s prudence and caution”, and added that he “will need both”.

He said: “Monarchy is a nonsense, because it demands we pay homage to people whose claim on our respect derives solely from their heredity.

“Yet I believe it will continue to suit the British people to defy the logic of republicanism; to preserve and cherish the admittedly anachronistic institution that has served us so well.

“This can be done if its principal members sustain the dignity, decency, grace and passivity that have enabled the Queen to triumph.

“Entirely opaque save about horses and dogs, she seems to be whatever each of us, her subjects, chooses to suppose her to be.

“In return for service by the Firm, its most senior members are entitled to expect from us a gratitude that we sometimes fail to display.

“Consider the awesome mission statement we write for them: to preserve in the 21st century, for our convenience and pleasure, an essentially 19th-century fairytale.

He added: Prince Andrew’s disgrace has been rooted in his belief in a right to a lifestyle that his income could not support, and that his judgment should have rejected.

“Yet when he careered off course, no one cracked the whip as they should have done. Other minor royals routinely accept cash and favours from disreputable people.

“The Prince of Wales unfailingly means well, but sometimes seems to lack steering or brakes.

“When he bullied the Labour government into providing NHS funding for alternative medicine, against authoritative medical advice, he broke every rule for a constitutional monarchy.

“Some of his published utterances about the meaning of life and the universe have been ill advised, because they lend currency to the view that he is — how shall we say? — eccentric.

“Charles is the most conspicuous victim of the Oprah interview, because Harry cast him as an uncaring father.

“There is a danger that this charge will prompt resurrection of harsh things said in the past, and in the TV series The Crown, about his alleged treatment of Diana.

“Most of our monarchs have had tragically awful relations with their children. It is easy to identify Charles’s faults, egotism and private extravagance among them.

“His lifelong grievance is that he yearns to do things, some of them admirable, especially on climate change, while his duty as heir to the throne and thereafter as monarch requires him to be merely decorative.

“He strives to be a good person, but lacks his mother’s prudence and caution. On the throne in 2030, he will need both.


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