Letters to the editor | Oct 1st 2022 Edition


For king and country

There is another crucial benefit of a constitutional monarchy not mentioned in your leader on King Charles III (“Into the Carolean era”, September 17th). The armed forces swear allegiance to a monarch, not a president or a prime minister. For most members of the armed forces this oath of allegiance is an important commitment, and serves to ensure that the government of the day cannot easily usurp the constitution by means of force.

A good example of this protection was the attempted Spanish coup d’état in February 1981. In a televised address King Juan Carlos I denounced the coup, calling for the rule of law and the democratic government to continue. It was that royal address which fatally undermined the insurrection. Even Britain could be vulnerable either to a coup or, more plausibly, a government seeking to distort Britain’s unwritten constitution to its advantage. The fact that legislation requires royal assent, and that any military enforcement of such plans relies on the armed forces’ loyalty to the monarch, gives us a degree of civil protection not open to the citizens of countries such as Brazil or Turkey.

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