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This report is taken from PN Review 87, Volume 19 Number 1, September - October 1992.

Comment C.H. Sisson
The W.H. Smith CONTEMPORARY papers are 'studies on subjects of cultural, social, or political importance, intended for those who are inquisitive, interested, but not necessarily well informed'. The implication, if the series is not to be dismissed as one more frivolity, must be that the lack of information will be put right, to a significant extent, in 20 or 30 pages. Admittedly, John Grigg's title - The Monarchy Revisited - might be taken as disclaiming any more than a personal impression. Things are not quite as simple as that, however. Grigg revives memories of his 'argument 35 years ago' when, as editor of The National and English Review, he had the satisfaction, as a budding journalist, of finding himself 'at the heart of an almighty row'. What he said did not amount to much, but it met with some criticism from some who did not fully share the democratic enlightenment of the boy from Eton and New College, who had done his National Service in the Grenadier Guards. At the time of this first little flutter, this promising journalist was burdened with the hereditary title of Lord Altrincham, which he disclaimed, as soon as the law allowed, 'because he objected, not to hereditary titles but to hereditary seats in Parliament'.

With this natural inclination to improve the institutions of his country, and to ensure that the burden of oppression does not lie too heavily on us, or indeed on other members of the Commonwealth, it is not surprising that, ...


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