Of all the fallout from the announcement of the engagement of Willie Windsor and Ms Middle-Class Middleton, the most predictable was the flurry of opinion polls asking whether Charles should succeed his mother as king.
Followed of course by readers’ letters to the Daily Mail. Here are a few extracts:
Is it not possible to raise a petition to call on Charles to stand down from the succession to allow William to become our next King?
Surely the Queen must realise the public would vote for Wills as their next King? She should act now — regardless of how painful it may be.
There’s absolutely no way this woman Camilla should ever be made Queen. The rightful Queen was Diana and she is no longer around because of Charles — who doesn’t deserve to be King.
The irony is that all of these letters are written by people who are ardent royalists and yet they don’t seem to have grasped the way that royalty works. It is a genetic process, not democratic or even an X-Factor contest.
If previous candidates had been barred from the throne on the grounds of infidelity, unpopularity, stupidity or eccentricity, well this country would have become a republic centuries ago.
But if they really want rid of Charles, all they have to do is raise a New Model Army, win popular support in the country, defeat the King’s forces in the field, then either imprison or exile him, or lop his head off as a permanent resolution of the issue.
They won’t of course — it smacks too much of republicanism — so if they prefer to have a vote on who should be the monarch, can we first have a debate as to whether anyone should be allowed rule by birthright.