‘I used to think the interesting question was whether we should have a monarchy or not. But now I think that question is rather like, should we have pandas or not?’ – Hilary Mantel
‘People sometimes ask me why I moan on so much about the royal family,’ Glen Newey wrote on the LRB blog in 2013. ‘Aren’t there more important things to worry about, like war, political repression, man-made climate change or Arsenal’s exit from the Champions League? To give the short answer, yes. But in a funny way, no.’ As the pieces in this selection make clear, the LRB hasn’t taken a clear editorial stance on the monarchy over the last forty years. A subscriber showed up at our office almost speechless with rage when we published the Newey essay included here, ‘About as Useful as a String Condom’. Did we realise that his wife read the paper? This book is not for him. Other unhappy readers feel that we have the opposite problem: not a lack of deference to the Windsors, but a surfeit of it. This book is not for them, either.
Featuring: Jenny Diski, William Empson, Paul Foot, Thomas Jones, Hilary Mantel, Ferdinand Mount, Caroline Murphy, Tom Nairn, Glen Newey and Bee Wilson.