In this jubilee year, the appeal of the monarchy is still strong | Letters

War, slavery and lack of social mobility are not limited to monarchical nations, writes Ian Roberts; plus letters from Harry Dickinson and Jenny Bushell

With regard to Peter Tatchell’s article (No thanks, Ma’am. For LGBT campaigners like me, your jubilee is nothing to celebrate, 15 May), perhaps it can be suggested to Mr Tatchell that republicanism has, historically as well as now, never gained ground in the UK and that republican nations are just as guilty – if not more so – of many of the things that Mr Tatchell accuses the monarchy of.

The monarchy in the UK is immensely popular, albeit with a small core of detractors. The monarchy may be drawn from a “small circle” of society, but the US presidency is no less guilty of such a charge. Slavery and war? Were not some of the early US presidents themselves slaveowners, with Thomas Jefferson fathering children by an enslaved black woman? The US still has a far worse race relations record than the UK.

Did republican France not have an empire? Yes, it did, with Vietnam still recovering from that period, which included war with France and the US. France still struggles with its treatment of the Algerian Harkis. Is not republican Russia now engaged in an awful war in Ukraine, a war with little logical basis?

As such, Mr Tatchell’s somewhat caustic view of the royal family is out of kilter with established fact. War, slavery and lack of social mobility are not limited to monarchical nations. Perhaps Mr Tatchell should read the writings of Sunder Katwala, a former republican turned monarchist.
Ian Roberts
Vice-chair, British Monarchist League

• It appears that Peter Tatchell is unaware that, as long ago as 2006, the Oxford Friend Lesbian and Gay Helpline – we had yet formally to include trans people among the groups with whom we worked – was awarded the Queen’s award for voluntary service by groups in the community. It seemed like a landmark at the time, and I believe that we were the first LGBT group in the country to be thus recognised. The award, and its presentation at Oxford town hall, were widely reported in the local press.
Harry Dickinson

• I applaud Peter Tatchell for not succumbing to the “monarchy machine”, resisting the seduction and sycophancy, and sticking to his republicanism, unlike other critics who are drawn in by the dubious honour system. Polls show that there are about 25% of us who support a republic and a good percentage who are indifferent to the monarchy. These numbers will grow when the Queen goes.
Jenny Bushell
Wimbledon, London

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