On Royalty by Jeremy Paxman - review by Hugo Vickers

Hugo Vickers

Beatrix Who?

On Royalty


Viking 284pp £20

It is one of the joys of life to watch Jeremy Paxman grill some hapless politician on Newsnight, though others may feel sympathy for the contestants on University Challenge as he forces them into a wild guess at some unanswerable question. In the midst of this energetic and full-time career, he has written a number of books – tackling The English (‘fearless and philistine, safe in taxis and invaluable in shipwrecks’), The Political Animal, and the Establishment in Friends in High Places.

Now Paxman turns his attention to the question of monarchy, and the relationship of the hereditary head of state to politics, religion, the military and the law. He investigates the phenomenon with his habitual impatient, restless attitude of mistrust (no forelock-touching here) and a certain whimsical fascination (though he declares

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